EFFORT Network (Ungulates effect on forest renewal)

EFFORT Network (Ungulates effect on forest renewal)

EFFORT Network (Ungulates effect on forest renewal)
Coordination : Birieux, 01330, France; sites in the north-eastern part of France

The EFFORT network includes 3 experimental sites, all located in lowland production forests in the north-eastern half of France. Two of the sites are exclusively dedicated to monitoring interactions between ungulates and oak seedlings, and 1 site is dedicated to oak and fir (La Petite Pierre). The network has 24 exclosures, 11 of which are selective exclosures.

The network monitors seedling installation and evolution between the seed cutting and the installation of regeneration felling,, as well as the natural dynamics of the forest vegetation (oak/fir regeneration and the associated floristic community). The plots are set up in production forests where data on ungulate abundance is available. The network’s objective is to monitor the effects of ungulate browsing (and soil edaphic factors) on forest renewal (forest regeneration and plant diversity) and on the growth of seedlings up to 2 metres in height.

Within the experimental sites, study areas of 2 to 3 ha are large enough to be representative of ecosystem responses. Four 312-m² plots and 32 1-m² plots were experimental site. As far as possible (i.e. depending on which ungulate species are present), up to five treatments are tested at each experimental site: (i) with red deer, (ii) with roe deer, (iii) with wild boar, (iv) with all 3 ungulates, and (v) with no ungulates. Each treatment is repeated three times per site.

Services offer

The network provides new project-specific data, compiles experimental and monitoring data for the sites, and implements new experiments on the sites, for example for soil biodiversity (to measuremicro, meso and macro fauna). The chemical and physical parameters of the soil and plant are measured once a year with NIRS (Near Infra-red spectroscopy). Monitoring different soil properties will make it possible to detect the direct (trampling) or indirect (modification of the floristic composition) effects of ungulates early on and to indicate which soil property is most impacted.

In addition, this innovative monitoring tool makes it possible to identify the impact of ungulates on forest renewal by taking into account the soil importance and thus provide original data on the impact of local, regional or national events (extreme climatic events, global change, changes in the abundance of ungulate species, ...) and on forest ecosystem fucntioning. Research on the resilience and/or resistance of seedlings to browsing stress is of primary interest with regard to the sustainability of wood production and the definition of forest management policies.


The network is managed by a specialised engineer, 2 permanent technicians (each spending on average 10% of their time on the EFFORT network) and 2 non-permanent employees (on average 30% each). We also regularly welcome students.

Operations and data access

The average time research projects spend using the infrastructure is 3 weeks. The work includes conducting plant diversity surveys, collecting plant and soil samples, measuring seedling growth and browsing impact (consumption index and Aldous browse surveys) and pre-treating and/or analyzing samples. The network’s approach is to interact as much as possible with the user(s) to discuss all aspects of their project.

Data access and cost
Available measurements

For some sites: weather station, dendrometers, soil moisture content will be required

Modification date: 16 August 2023 | Publication date: 14 May 2018 | By: Sonia Saïd - ONCFS - Avril 2018