REINFFORCE measures tree health

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This year, the REINFFORCE network innovated its field inventory by conducting a standardised analysis of tree health. The health status campaign kicked off during the 2019 growing season (June to August 2019) and shall be completed during the next growing season.


Seventeen arboreta

This year’s campaign involved seventeen arboreta which were selected alternatively along the latitudinal gradient of the network (2 sites in the UK, 7 in France, 2 in Portugal and 7 in Spain). It was coordinated by EFIPLANT and field teams were assisted on-site by their local REINFFORCE partners.

Health status variables such as crown condition (mortality, defoliation, discolouration) and the presence of abiotic and biotic disturbance agents (e.g., fungi, insects, mammal grazers, wind, fire and drought) were measured at tree level to assess climate impact on tree health.


Creating synergies

The 2019 REINFFORCE field campaign was also about creating synergies with other ongoing European projects on tree adaptation and new interactions under climate change.

For the INRA BIOGECO project ‘Fonctions-et-services-lies-a-la-biodiversite’, field teams collected silver birch (Betula pendula) and pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) leaves to test the herbivory-host-climate interactions.

Meanwhile, for the H2020 B4EST project on adaptive breeding for productive, sustainable and resilient forest under climate change, they sampled sampled stone pine (Pinus pinea) needles for future genetic analyses; the data collected in the field will feed the future models on the impacts of climate change on forest health required for the project,

The occurrence of four exotic invasive pests (Eucalyptus weevil, Douglas-fir needle midge, Asian chestnut gall wasp and Oak lace bug) were verified as part of the H2020 HOMED Project, which uses the REINFFORCE arboreta as sentinels of emerging and spreading pests.

This work will allow REINFFORCE, B4EST and HOMED to make important advances in its research.


New dataset of growth and health and growth measurements

The REINFFORCE health data will complement the already existing data about survival and growth (measured biannually), aiming for a complete synchronized assessment of health and growth in all the arboreta at the end of the campaign 2019-2020.

The resulting new dataset of growth and health measurements, which will be complete and synchronised by the summer of 2020, will allow REINFFORCE to make important advances in its research. The first results from the growth and survival analyses are available on the REINFFORCE website.


A collaborative effort

The success of this first edition of the field campaign was due to the collaborative effort from all the REINFFORCE partners, who actively contributed to the preparation, testing and development of the health assessment protocol. It was also an excellent opportunity to meet and talk to the local partners and arboretum supervisors, and to assess site specific conditions in each arboreta which can influence the health status of trees.

Well done to all the EFI field team and the REINFFORCE partners for making the first health campaign such a big success! We are looking forward to meeting you all again during the summer 2020 health campaign.


The REINFFORCE network

The REINFFORCE network was established between 2009 and 2014 by a consortium of 11 partners. It assesses adaptive management options and identifies the best provenances and species to plant in the European Atlantic façade taking into account the current and future climate. It comprises 38 arboreta with 2000 trees from 35 species located along a latitudinal gradient crossing 5 European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, England, Scotland and Wales).

Find out more  about the network on the REINFFORCE website.

Photo by Hernán Serrano León (EFIPLANT)