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31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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GIS Coop: GIS Cooperative data

Network and its devices names
GIS Coop: GIS Cooperative data on forest stand growth
Presidency : INRAE
Coordination : INRAE, Nancy, 54000, France
Experimental sites in metropolitan France (CNPF-IDF, CPFA, FCBA, INRAE, ONF)
Network description

The GIS Coop is a Scientific public body group, called "Cooperative of data on forest stand growth", whose purpose is to collect and share scientific data on forest stand growth for the development of growth models and management tools. This scientific objective requires the installation, monitoring and measurement of multi-local networks of permanent plots according to standardized protocols that best cover the full range of variability in growing conditions (climate, stationary conditions, silviculture, genetic levels). Since the creation of the GIS Coop in 1994, six partners (AgroParisTech, CNPF-IDF, CPFA, FCBA, INRAE, ONF) have received support from the Ministry in charge of Forestry to develop and manage these networks.

Seven silvicultural systems (even-aged stands of Douglas, Sessile and Pedunculate Oak, Pine Laricio and Maritime Pine; mixed stands based on Sessile Oak and Silver fir) important in the French resource are studied. Each network is composed of experimental sites set up in such a way as to explore the full diversity of ecological contexts (climate, stationary conditions) of the current production areas, while anticipating their evolution. The sampling strategy of the experimental sites has recently been revised in order to stratify the new sampling designs according to environmental gradients and thus adapt the networks to the new problems posed by global changes.

A main and mandatory factor is experimented on each site: the evolution of stand density during its life, in a very wide range from maximum competition between trees (self thinning) to out-of-competition growth (free growth). These highly contrasting scenarios of competition evolution are formalised quantitatively and require long-term monitoring. This first factor is crossed with secondary factors: according to networks, the level of genetic improvement and crop intensification (maritime pine), thinning (Pinus laricio), composition/structure (heterogeneous forest). For this purpose, each site includes at least three plots subjected to these different silvicultural treatments. For each site, the diversity of silvicultural treatments is favoured over the repetition of treatments (which are repeated between sites). The establishment in stands at the earliest stage is particularly sought after (planting or first release or depressing stage). New devices are regularly introduced to stagger installation dates and thus decorrelate the effects of age and date on growth, to complete the networks gradually and finally to renew harvested or destroyed sites. 185 sites (22 in oak, 31 in Douglas, 14 in Pinus laricio, 114 in maritime pine and 4 in heterogeneous forest) totalling 1206 plots have been installed over the past 20 years.

The GIS Coop networks provide support for multidisciplinary work in various fields (ecology, ecophysiology, soil sciences, etc.).

Services offer

The trees are described (health status, shape, etc.) and regular dendrometric measurements are taken (every 3 to 10 years, circumference at 1.30m, total height, branches). This tree monitoring allows the detection of the effects of treatments on growth at the tree and stand levels in stands of various ages and in various stationary contexts.

An ecological characterization, according to a protocol common to all the networks, is carried out on each site, which includes floristic inventories of tree, shrub and herbaceous strata, soil descriptions in 1.50m deep pits (description of each soil horizon: colour, texture, structure, compactness, coarse elements, roots) and soil analyses (physical - granulometry - and chemical - carbon, nitrogen, pH, limestone, exchangeable elements, phosphorus).

Experimental treatments and technical interventions are coordinated by the cooperators: planting, marking of thinnings and monitoring of interventions (soil preparation, exploitation, opening of partitions, clearing, management of vegetation and understorey). A partnership agreement is signed with each of the site owners.

All the data collected on the GIS Coop sites are formatted, checked and organised in order to be stored in a database, CoopFor, managed with PostgreSQL and hosted on an INRAE server.


The networks are coordinated by the Coop ISU Council and managed by five operational groups (one group per network: Pin laricio, Maritime Pine, Douglas, Oak and Heterogeneous Forests). Each group is responsible for the sampling plan, the experimental and measurement protocols, the installation and monitoring of sites, and the qualification of data before loading into the database. In addition to these 5 operational groups, there is also the transversal CoopEco group, in which all the cooperators participate. This group is responsible for the ecological characterization protocol of the sites (flora, humus, soil) and for adapting the sampling plan of the devices to take into account the current and future pedoclimatic conditions for the development of each of the 5 networks. It coordinates the ecological characterization campaigns of the devices in connection with each operational group. Finally, the Technical Unit of the GIS Coop controls the coherence of the data transmitted by the groups, ensures the management and feeding of the database as well as the access rights according to the rules defined by the convention and the charter of the GIS Coop.

In total, for all the partners, approximately 300 engineer days per year and 600 technician days per year are required to operate these networks. More than 175 people contributed directly to these networks during the first 20 years of its operation.

Work description and access modalities

Depending on the research or development project, requests may concern access to data already collected by the GIS Coop and/or access to experimental sites for the collection of new data or the collection of samples. They should be addressed to the facilitators of the group(s) concerned who will coordinate the response with the group members who retain ownership of their data (application form and contact available at:

In any case, these requests imply, for any beneficiary, the acceptance of the rules of the GIS Coop charter. Our approach is to interact as much as possible with the user(s) to discuss all aspects of their project. Depending on the needs of the projects, the cooperators extract and prepare the datasets, provide technical support for access to the devices and ensure communication with the forest owners/managers.

In return for access to data and/or sites, particular forms of input from the project in question to the GIS Coop will be discussed between the GIS Coop group(s) concerned by the application and the project leader, according to the objectives and expected results, and will be included in the conditions of access to data and devices. The intention of the GIS Coop is to develop collaborative synergies with the projects concerned, considered essential for the follow-up and the valorisation of this experimental tool of national scope in the long term.

Access unit and cost

Depends on the demand.


For some sites: meteorological station, capacitive soil moisture sensors, microdendrometers, multiplexers and data acquisition units.