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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Conservation and Reproduction Team (CORE)


The CORE team focuses on the conservation and reproduction of forest genetic resources. It is a team combining INRAE and ONF staff.


Objectives and activities

Climate change has and will have an important impact on forests and forest genetic resources, both in their ability to grow or survive and in their reproductive function. The CORE team aims to understand the mechanisms related to reproduction, whether sexual or asexual, as well as the conservation and development of forest genetic resources.

For these purposes, different biological models (Douglas-fir, larch, Scots pine, black poplar and oaks) have been selected and different approaches (molecular, somatic embryogenesis, experimental tests...) implemented to allow us to understand the adaptation and evolution processes at different scales. Tree reproduction, which involves gene dispersal, embryo development and the accumulation of energy reserves in the seed, is one of the key elements for the adaptation and renewal of forest stands. It contributes to the conservation of the genetic diversity of forest genetic resources. Our research allows a better knowledge of the mechanisms of sexual and asexual reproduction of forest trees. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge, these studies allow to advise the foresters, or to give them alternatives to current practices to better take into account the environment and adapt to climate change.

To reach this general objective, the team is developing :

  1. an integrative approach, combining the use of molecular markers with physiological analysis, to qualify the quality of seeds from a genetic, biochemical and physiological diversity point of view; 
  2. understanding environmental effects such as temperature and drought on the development of zygotic and somatic embryos; 
  3. identification of key factors (intra-specific diversity, adaptation to water deficit, etc.) to conserve and develop genetic resources adapted to future climate conditions; 
  4. the use of experimental and management data as well as evolutionary genetic mechanisms to advise forest managers in the conservation and adaptation of stands.

This will contribute to:

  • Conservation of networked genetic resources in situ (in forest stands) and ex situ (in the form of seeds or tissues in the cold or in the form of a vegetative collection);
  • Optimization of forestry practices for the harvesting and processing of forest seeds;
  • Deployment of a high performance vegetative propagation method to overcome the lack of seeds;
  • Identification of materials and silvicultural itineraries adapted to the new climatic conditions through modeling and nursery tests (water stress);
  • Setting up of a toolbox to help the forest managers make decisions.


Species studied

The major ones: oaks, Douglas fir, larch, black poplar and Scots pine

Minor species: beech, fir, mountain ash


Key words

Reproduction, somatic embryogenesis, gene flow, in situ and ex situ conservation, experiments, forestry industry, genetic resources.



Brigitte Musch et Caroline Teyssier


The members

Permanent staff:

BOUTTIER Valentin 420X560
CHAUVIN Thibaud 420X560
DELILE Armelle 420X560
Dhote Jean-François 420X560


Research & development engineer, ONF 


Research & development engineer, ONF

Armelle DELILE

Technician, INRAE

Jean-François DHOTE

Research Director, HDR, INRAE

Le Guerroue Bénédicte 420X560
Lelu Walter Marie-Anne 188X250
Musch Demesure Brigitte 420X560


Research & Development Assistant, ONF


Research Director, HDR, INRAE

Titouan MOUGIN

Research & Development Assistant, ONF

Brigitte MUSCH

Research & Development doctor, ONF

Rouselle Yves 420X560
Teyssier Caroline 420X560
Villar Marc 420X560

Céline RIDEL

Technician, INRAE


Research and development doctor, ONF


Researcher, INRAE 


Research Director, HDR, INRAE

Non permanent staff : 

SAVANE Parisa 420X560



Adrien DEBAS



(Thesis Fellow, 2019-2022)


Team's current projects

  • Forgenius (2021-2025): European project financed by European funds, brings together 19 partners in 10 countries and aims to characterize the genetic and functional diversity of European forests, within the framework of the objectives of conservation of natural genetic resources. The project involves INRAE and ONF.
  • Presto (2020-2022): project with the Région Centre for the development of a high throughput predictive method adapted to trees. Multi-partner project involving INRAE. 
  • Multiforever (2019-2022): European project on the deployment of somatic embryogenesis for conifer production. INRAE and FCBA are the French partners. 
  • Esperense (2018-2021): a national project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and France Bois Forêt to improve knowledge of the behavior of alternative species and provenances to existing species considered vulnerable to climate change. Multi-partner project involving CNPF, INRAE, FCBA and ONF.
  •  ConQueTh (2018-2021): a national project financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and France Bois Forêt to gain a better understanding of the genetic resources of pubescent oak in the Pays de Loire and Centre Val de Loire regions.?Multi-partner project involving CNPF, Bourdeau Bois, CIRAD, CGF, IGN, INRAE, ONF and Vilmorin.
  • Secur MFR (2017-2021): ministerial project to secure the supply of forest reproductive material. Multi-partner project involving INRAE. 
  • Embryonsomature (2017-2021): project with the Grande Aquitaine Region, with the objective of developing somatic embryogenesis of maritime pine. FCBA and INRAE are involved.
  • Défiforbois (2016-2021): regional project co-financed by the region, INRA and Irstea within the framework of PSDR4. It aims to identify, with local stakeholders, innovative solutions to ensure the mobilization of wood resources and to anticipate the adaptation of stands to climate change. The project brings together research teams from INRAE, ONF and FCBA and partners directly involved in the regional forestry-wood sector.
  • Douglas Avenir (2015-2025): national project financed by the Ministry of Agriculture with the objective of genetic improvement of Douglas fir. Multi-partner project involving INRAE, FCBA, ONF and France Douglas.
  • ClimEssence (2015-2021): National project financed by the RMT Aforce and the labex Arbre with the objective of providing a series of aids for the choice of forest tree species in the context of climate change involving the ONF and the CNPF.
  • Oak and wine (2015-2020): regional project funded by the intelligence of the heritages.  Its objective is to identify phyto chemical molecular and near infrared markers to differentiate the main oak species and to characterize extracts of oenological interest and their impact on Loire Valley wines. Multi-partner project involving ICOA, Arbocentre, CNPF, Radoux cooperage, IFV, INRAE, and ONF.
  • Giono (2011-2030): national project financed by the ONF with the objective of conserving ex situ endangered genetic resources of sessile oak, beech and pectin fir and to set up assisted migration. ONF project
  • OptForest



In bold, members or former students of the team.

Lefebvre M, Villar M, Boizot N, Delile A, Dimouro B, Lomelech A-M, Teyssier C (2021) Variability in seeds’ physicochemical characteristics, germination and seedling growth within and between two French Populus nigra populations, PCI Forest&Wood sciences.

Alexandre, H, Truffaut, L, Ducousso, A Louvet J-M, Nepveu G, Torres-Ruiz J M, Lagane F, Firmat C, Musch B, Delzon S and Kremer A (2020) In situ estimation of genetic variation of functional and ecological traits in Quercus petraea and Q. robur. Tree Genetics & Genomes 16, 32

Bert D, Lebourgeois F, Ponton, Musch B and Ducousso A (2020)   Which oak provenances for the 22nd century in Western Europe? Dendroclimatology in common gardens. Plos one,

Wintenberger C, Rodrigues S Greulich S, Brejeret JG, Jugé P, Tal M, Dubois A, Villar M (2019) Control of non-migrating bar morphodynamics on survival of Populus nigra seedlings during floods. Wetlands, 39 : 275-290. DOI: 10.1007/s13157-018-1121-7    

Gautier F, Label P, Eliášová K, Leplé J-C, Motyka V, Boizot N, Vondráková Z, Malbeck J, Trávníčková A, Le Metté C, Lesage-Descauses M-C, Lomenech A-M, Trontin J-F, Costa G, Lelu-Walter M-A and Teyssier C (2019) Cytological, biochemical and molecular events of the embryogenic state in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.]) Frontiers in Plant Science 10. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00118.

Lelu-Walter M-A, Gautier F, Eliášová K, Sanchez L, Teyssier C, Lomenech A-M, Le Metté C, Hargreaves C, Trontin J-F, Reeves C (2018) High gellan gum concentration and secondary somatic embryogenesis: two key factors to improve somatic embryo development in Pseudotsuga menziesii. Plant Cell, Tissue & Organ Cultur. 132, 137-155. DOI: 10.1007/s11240-017-1318-0.

Gautier F, Eliášová K, Leplé J-C, Vondráková Z, Lomenech A-M, Le Metté C, Label P, Costa G, Trontin J-F, Teyssier C, Lelu-Walter M-A (2018) Repetitive somatic embryogenesis induced cytological and proteomic changes in embryogenic lines of Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.]. BMC plant Biol.

Villar M, Forestier O (2017) La France à la sauvegarde du Peuplier noir : état actuel du programme de conservation et de valorisation des ressources génétiques. Rev. For. Fr. LXIX - 3 : 195-204.    

Main communications to the industry

Legay, M, Musch, B, Pousse, N, Joly, A, Ladier, J, Boulanger, V, Deleuze, C ; Mengin-Lecreux, P ; Piboule, A ; Rousselle, Y ; Richter, . (2020). Comment l'Office national des forêts anticipe les effets du changement climatique ? Sciences Eaux & Territoires La Revue Du Cemagref, (33), Sciences eaux & territoires la revue du Cemagref, 2020, Issue 33.

Musch B, 2019. Outils pour l’adaptation de la forêt aux changements climatiques : migration assistée et substitution d’essences. Rendez-vous techniques de l’ONF, n° 61-62, pp. 42-49

Bertin S, Legay M, Musch B, Paillassa E, Perrier C, Piboule A, 2019. Un outil en ligne pour accompagner le choix des essences forestières dans un contexte de changement climatique. Forêt entreprise, n° 249, pp. 33-34

Lefèvre F, Godineau C, Beudez N, de Coligny F, Courbet F, Oddou-Muratorio S, Sanchez L, Deleuze C, Pichot C, Chartier M, Musch B, François D, Girard S, Guyot J, Le-Legard Moreau L, Riou-Nivert P, Rousselle Y, Salvaudon A, Sédilot-Gasmi C, 2019. Un outil de simulation : comprendre comment la sylviculture modifie la qualité génétique et les capacités d’adaptation des peuplements. Forêt entreprise, n° 249, pp. 49-51


  • Transfer of somatic embryogenesis methodology of larch and Douglas fir for the production of in vitro ornamental plants (Plantaphore®)
  • Deployment and training of experts for a website containing current and future climate compatibility maps and species description sheets (ClimEssences)
  • Videos on climate change and forests