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The overarching goal of the Laboratory of Excellence for Advanced Research on the Biology of TRee and Forest Ecosystems (ARBRE) is to guarantee forests sustained ability to produce quality goods and services in a changing environment. Recognizing that forest resilience, and its productivity both stem from a wide range of biological and biophysical processes, ARBRE centers its research agenda on the interactions between processes at micro-, meso-, and macro-scales.

The main research objectives of ARBRE are to further the understanding of biological, ecological and evolutionary processes that affect interactions between organisms in temperate forest ecosystems, and to develop new approaches to address key questions related to nutrient cycling, carbon storage and cycling, forest productivity, wood products, ecosystem services and sustainable forest management. We are implementing a wide range of disciplines – from genomics to functional ecology and economics – to understand, monitor and predict community structures, dynamics and processes in forest ecosystems.

ARBRE is also addressing significant questions in forest ecology and evolution through synthesis of existing data or development of novel theory, design novel wood products and make policy recommendations based on scientific data.

• See the research topics being developed by LabEx ARBRE

Relative to existing international research efforts in this field, ARBRE’s unique added value is its integrated approach aiming to: (i) develop a comprehensive molecular-level understanding of the forest soil microbiome, tree-microbe interactions, and tree development and functioning, to be achieved through the application of ‘-omics’ approaches and system biology; (ii) generate functional and mechanistic insights into the complex interactions between biogeochemical cycles, carbon sequestration and biodiversity in forests, including interspecific and intraspecific genetic variability. This is achieved by using long-term observatories (LTO), dedicated field experiments including isotopes tracing and large database analysis; (iii) integrate biochemistry- and biophysics-based knowledge to understand wood formation and to produce timber with properties tailored for ‘green’ end-products; (iv) contribute to the broader development of social, economic, and regulatory policies related to forest sciences and innovation in France, focusing on biodiversity; (v) train highly qualified personnel for careers in France’s R&D-driven industries and institutions; and (vi) disseminate scientific innovation rapidly to end users represented in the consortium [like Office National des Forêts (ONF), CNPF (Centre National de la Propriété Forestière) and others].

ARBRE’s research groups couple bottom-up (from the understanding of processes to forest functions) and top-down approaches (from the production of goods and services back to processes) within a series of interconnected task forces or workpackages (WPs). WP1 integrates genomics know-how and toolkits to identify major genetic factors controlling soil microbiomes, root-microbe interactions, tree root development and functioning, focusing on stress responses. WP2 investigates the processes taking place at the interfaces (soil/microbe/tree and tree/atmosphere) in disturbed forest ecosystems and will forecast the state and future evolution of temperate forests. WP3 links wood properties of the forest resource to the ‘green’ end-products that can be tailored from wood fibers and their chemical components. WP4 focuses on biodiversity as a major model environmental service, because the demand for valuation of biodiversity is mounting. WP4 will develop biodiversity indicators and a new set of economic instruments (such as payment instruments) for motivating forest managers based on those indicators.

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