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Last update: May 2021

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M.O.S. Network (Manipulation of soil organic matter)

MOS Network (Manipulation of soil organic matter)
Coordination : Champenoux, 54280, France; sites spread in the North of France.
Réseau MOS

The M.O.S. network (Manipulation of Soil Organic Matter) includes 18 experimental sites, all located in lowland production forests in the northern half of France. It is composed of 6 beech sites, 6 oak sites and 6 Douglas fir sites. The stands were selected to cover an age just before their maximum annual increment (MAI), i.e. between 30 and 60 years of age.

This network was designed to reveal the long-term effects of intense biomass exports on soil fertility and biodiversity (macro-, meso- and micro-fauna), tree growth and health. The experimental sites each have a study area of 2-3 ha, which is sufficient to determine ecosystem responses. There are 12 sub-plots of 40 m by 40 m at each site. Four treatments corresponding to four levels of biomass export are studied at each experimental site.

The treatments are:

  1. Control plots (only the main tree stem is removed at each thinning); logging residue is left on the site;
  2. Logging with removal of logging residus in addition to the main stem (at each thinning);
  3. Logging with removal of loging residus in addition to main stem (at each thinning) plus soil litter removal once a year;
  4. Logging with removal of logging residus (at each thinning) plus soil nutrient remediation with wood ash/dolomite input.

Each treatment is randomly repeated three times per site. Soil physical and chemical properties are monitored in all plots once a year with infrared spectrometry (NIRS & MIRS). The sites support studies on biodiversity, soil organic matter, soil biogeochemistry and tree physiology.

Services offer

The network provides new data specific to each project, compiles experimental and monitoring data from the sites, and implements new experiments at the sites.

The chemical and physical parameters of the soil are measured once a year with the NIRS & MIRS systems. This makes it possible to detect the effects of the treatment early enough to indicate which soil property is impacted. In addition, NIRS & MIRS monitoring tools make it possible to assess the soils in the control plots over several decades and thus provide original data on the impact of local, regional or national events (extreme climatic events, global change, etc.) on forest ecosystem functioning. Biodiversity reacts negatively to the different logging treatments, but many ecosystemic functions can be maintained in less diversified ut fully operational groups.

The M.O.S. network is unique at the European and international levels in terms of the number of sites, the species tested, plot size and stand development stage. Research on the resilience and/or resistance of forests to the stresses incurred by increased biomass harvesting is of primary interest with regard to the sustainability of wood production and forest management policies.


The network is managed by a research engineer, an assistant engineer for the biogeochemical interpretation of the NIRS-MIRS spectra, a design engineer for statistical analyses, two permanent and one non-permanent technician (each spending on average 30% of their time on M.O.S. network activities).

The research unit also provides scientific knowledge in biogeochemistry in forest ecosystems, mainly on carbon, nitrogen and cation cycles. They regularly welcome international students and researchers.

Operations and data access

The average time research projects spend using the facilities is 3 weeks. Work typically consists in collecting soil and plant samples, pre-treating and analysing the samples, assessing microbial or wildlife diversity, taking tree physiology measurements and evaluating treatment effects (temporal dynamics, spatial variability).

The network’s approach is to interact as much as possible with the user(s) to discuss all aspects of their project. This step allows each request to be handled individually and to provide support adapted to the request. We mainly offer scientific, technical and logistical support. It is possible to use ANAEE-France's mobile platform (MPOETE) as additional support for field campaigns, experiments and data acquisition.

Data access and cost

The duration of acces is set at  one week. During this time, we provide access to all the sites in the M.O.S. network and propose a package including laboratory space for sample preparation and processing, andtraining by highly qualified technicians. The package includes access to maintenance data at each site. The cost for one week’s access, excluding the applicant’s travel expenses, is xxxxx euros for private institutions, and 1,100 euros for public institutions.

Available measurements

For some sites: Weather station, water content in the soil.