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INRA
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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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VFA Evaluation network

Network descriptios
VFA  Evaluation network (Improved Forest Varieties)
Partners: INRAE, ONF, CNPF
Localisation
Coordination : INRAE, 45290 Nogent-sur-Vernisson, France.
Experimental sites located in metropolitan France.
Website

Reseau Evaluation VFA

Network description

Seed orchards, plantations composed of genotypes selected for traits of economic interest, are intended to produce genetically improved seeds for reforestation. The estimation of their performance, which is intended to guide the choice of forest owners and managers, is based on the study of their progeny (Improved Forest Varieties), installed in comparative multi-site tests.


The evaluation of State seed orchards, i.e. whose installation was financed by the Ministry in charge of forests, is carried out by INRAE, the ONF and the CNPF. The experimental network, which covers 82 ha, is made up of 76 devices evaluating the products of 8 Douglas fir orchards, 2 hybrid larch orchards, 1 European larch orchard and 3 Laricio pine orchards (tests for evaluating a common spruce orchard may be added to the list at a later date). The varieties are compared with each other and with one or more control provenances, and with foreign varieties in the case of larch


The devices were planted from 1995 to 2016, in variable patterns (single-tree, unit plots of different sizes) to reconcile the scientific objectives - obtaining reliable results at different time steps - and the demonstration function assigned to certain trials to optimize the transfer of knowledge to managers.
The Douglas-fir and larch networks cover a large area characterized by varied stationary conditions. Thus, the 38 devices of the recently created Douglas partnership network (from 2009 to 2016) were voluntarily installed in various pedoclimatic contexts in order to study genotype x environment interactions. The experimental sites are divided into four main categories according to the presumed impact of climate change: negligible (major current production basins in the northern zone), unfavourable (southern and eastern fringes of the Massif Central) or, on the contrary, favourable (high-altitude sites). In addition, a recent extension of the network makes it possible to better explore the ecological gradients of the potential Douglas fir reforestation area, including in particular stations on limestone. In the case of larch, some French sites are part of European-scale networks, which contributes to a diversification of test sites.


Organizationally, the VFA Evaluation Network is not managed as a single entity. While the majority of Douglas fir's evaluation trials are part of a structured partnership network with its own steering committee, the remaining trials are monitored and measured individually by the testing organizations with a lesser degree of integration.

Services offer


The network installs experimental devices to fill knowledge gaps and produces data from measurements taken regularly during the period of trial activity. After a close follow-up in the first years, the measurement campaigns are spaced out and are carried out every 3-5 years on average. The characteristics taken into account vary according to the species and the age of the system; in general, they concern adaptation to the environment (survival, budburst phenology, biotic and abiotic damage), growth (height then circumference), shape (density and angle of insertion of branches, straightness of the trunk, basal curvature, forking), the status of the trees in the case of thinning and the taxon for certain larch trials (hybrid/non hybrid).


The test data are managed by the research institutions. In addition, in the case of the Douglas Partnership Network, individual data are pooled to allow multi-site analyses and a metadata base is being built.


In addition, the research and development organisms involved in the evaluation of improved forest varieties actively participate in the transfer of the knowledge acquired to professionals in the forest sector, including seed suppliers, nursery growers, forest owners and managers. These actions take a variety of forms: information meetings, technical articles, updating of the advice sheets on the use of forest reproductive material available on the site of the Ministry in charge of forests. Although this is not the primary objective, data from the evaluation network are also valorised in scientific articles.

Team

The Douglas Partnership Network is managed by a steering committee, bringing together one or more representatives from each partner organization, which meets at least once a year. It takes all useful decisions concerning the facilities (number and type of trials in each type of environment, distribution between organizations, choice of land, collection of seed lots, breeding of plants), measurements (target characteristics, frequency, experimental protocols) and the use of results. Coordination is ensured by INRAE Nogent-sur-Vernisson.


The other trials are managed directly by the organisms having installed them, in more or less close consultation with the partners working on the same species.

In all cases, the data remain the exclusive property of the organisations responsible for the devices that generated the data.

The group evaluating varieties from State orchards allocates 2 FTEs of engineer and 2 FTEs of assistant engineer/technician annually to these actions, which receive regular financial support from the Ministry in charge of forests.


Work description and access modalities

Composed of common genetic units located in various pedoclimatic situations, the network represents a very rich capital that can generate knowledge in fields other than forest genetics. Experimental organisms will study requests for access to the data and/or the devices themselves, submitted by other research institutes, while insisting on their willingness to be involved as much as possible in the projects carried out by the users.


The conditions of access to the data/devices of the Douglas partnership network will be governed by a charter currently under construction, similar to that of the GIS Coop data.

Access unit and cost

There is no set fee; the cost will depend on the nature of the request.

Facilities

Temperature sensors and rain gauges for two sites in the Douglas network.