FOI Network (Forest-ungulates interaction)

FOI Network (Forest-ungulates interaction)

FOI Network (Forest-ungulates interaction)
Coordination :
OFB- Birieux, 01330, France; for sites in the north-eastern part of France
INRAE-CEFS, centre Occitanie Toulouse, Castanet Tolosan, 31326, France for sites in the south-western part of France


The FOI (Forest-Ungulates Interaction) network consists of 4 experimental sites, located in production forests and in agrosystem woodlots. It is composed of 2 sites in the north-east of France (La Petite Pierre and Trois-Fontaines) and 2 sites in the south-west (Gardouch and Aurignac).

This network provides data on undergrowth vegetation dynamics (plant diversity, fruiting, plant species abundance, browsing pressure on woody plants, etc.) as a function of the abundance of wild deer (including associated descriptive variables of the populations) and the environmental context (forest typology, forest fragmentation, etc.). These experiments are set up to monitor the effects (positive or negative) of ungulates on forest vegetation over the long term.

Two of the experimental sites are enclosures where the abundance of roe deer is maintained at a given level by the experimenter: Gardouch (15 ha, 9 of which are oak woodland - INRAE) and Trois-Fontaines (1,360 ha of oak-beech woodland - OFB)., The other two sites are unfenced areas where the abundance of deer (deer and roe deer) is controlled by hunting federations. At these two sites, the plots, distributed both within large continuous forests and in groves of different sizes, reflect local variations in forest fragmentation. The Aurignac site (10,000 ha of mainly oak forests) reflects an extensive gradient of forest fragmentation (8 to 90% of the surface area the Aurignac experimental sites is made up of wooded elements - forest, grove, hedges -) and is mainly home to roe deer, whereas the Petite Pierre site (2,760 ha) is mainly forested (beech-oak groves, pine forests, spruce and fir forests) and is mainly home to red deer and roe deer.

Services offer

The main data provided by the FOI network are: raw longitudinal data (on vegetation, environment, meteorology and ungulate populations) and pre-processed results (e.g. aggregated according to environment or deer population descriptors, mapping, etc.). Additional services available on request include the realization of new measurements on the environment (e.g. remote sensing, LIDAR, soil and litter...), fauna (e.g. deer, birds...) or flora (e.g. phenology and functional traits) and the provision of soil, faunal or floral samples. In addition, the network can provide training for students or professionals on undergrowth vegetation measurements (e.g. deer browsing assessment) or techniques for studying deer populations. Finally, the network can provide information on the impact on undergrowth vegetation of major disturbances such as droughts, storms, insect infestations or pathogen damage.


For the sites in the North-East of France, the network is managed by a research engineer and 2 permanent technicians (each spending on average 60% of their time on the FOI network) and 1 non-permanent (30 % on average). Site monitoring in the South-West is carried out by a researcher and a team of 4 technicians from INRAE CEFS.

Operations and data access

Requests for data should be addressed to the experimental sites managers: Sonia Saïd for the Trois Fontaines and La Petite-Pierre sites – (sonia.said[at], and Hélène Verheyden for the Aurignac and Gardouch sites (helene.verheyden[at] For new measurements, setting up specific in situ experiments, and training, requests are evaluated by the site managers on a case-by-case basis. Such requests are subject to a specific quotation. For the provision of existing raw data and data processing (cartographic or descriptive statistics), a standard quotation is provided and a basic rate is applied. 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

Server for data storage

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

Modification date : 16 August 2023 | Publication date : 30 May 2018 | Redactor : Hélène Verheyden, Sonia Said