GEN4X Network

GEN4X Network (Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation)

GEN4X Network (Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation)
Coordination : INRAE, Avignon
The entire France metropolitan

Localisation des plantations comparatives par espèce

Localisation des plantations comparatives (par espèce) composant une partie de l’infrastructure.

Leur gestion est confiée à 3 unités expérimentales INRA : GBFOR [Nord-Centre-Est] , UEFP [façade atlantique], UEFM [zone méditerranéenne]. 

Noter que les dispositifs pin maritime et peuplier ne sont pas tous indiqués sur la carte.

Location of comparative plantations (by species) composing part of the infrastructure. Their management is carried out by 3 INRAE experimental units: GBFOR [North-Central-East], UEFP [Atlantic coast], UEFM [Mediterranean area].  Note that not all the maritime pine and poplar systems are shown on the map.


The network is made up of all types of devices known as "common gardens", which make it possible to compare species or several genetic units of the same species (geographical origins, families, clones) under various controlled environmental conditions. These common gardens sites were originally designed to study the natural diversity of different forest species and to create improved reforestation materials.  In 2009, the department in charge of forest ecosystems at INRAE grouped some of these common gardens (comparative plantations) into a network called "PlantaComp". In 2018, PlantaComp became the GEN4X Network (Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation); it includes all types of devices from arboretums to clonal-testing and population-improvement sites.

The GEN4X Network hosts an exceptional inter- and intra-specific heritage. Since the first plantations were set up in the 1960s, nearly a thousand test plots have been installed on more than 2,000 ha, representing about 2.5 million planted trees. Plant material from several dozen species has been tested, of which about fifteen are currently being closely monitored (oak, poplar, cherry, beech and ash for deciduous trees; and maritime pine, Douglas fir, larch, Scots pine, silver fir, Mediterranean pine, cypress and cedar for conifers).

The main scientific issues addressed by the Network are related to the mitigation and adaptation of forests to climate change, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and protecting forests from health risks.


The Network offers its services for experimentation, observation, conservation of biological resources as well as data production and management. Examples include: measurements for height, and radial growth; observations of survival, phenology, fruiting, pest and disease resistance; leaf and seed harvests; technical files of data and metadata.


The Network's experiments have been set up throughout mainland France and are managed by the various experimental units (UE) of INRAE's ECODIV department (see map) in close collaboration with researchers (one reference researcher per species or group of species).

Operations and data access

The sites in this network are open to INRAE researchers and other French and international research organizations to answer research or development questions within the framework of their research projects or in more formal collaboration (collaborative projects or research agreements). The sites are also open to teachers and trainers for all levels of training. Other access needs are discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Data access and cost

The costs are marginal for INRAE ECODIV research units and their partners.

Detailed technical records of the observations and measurements from the existing genetic units and sites. The data are maintained and partially integrated in local information systems specific to ECODIV and to a national information system, "GnpIS" ( Some sites are equipped with portable weather stations.

Published data sets

Michotey, Celia; Vauthier, Denis; Fady, Bruno, 2021, "Phenotypic trait dataset of Pinus pinea measured in the common gardens of the Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation (GEN4X)",, Portail Data INRAE, V1

Ducatillion, Catherine; Lamant, Thierry; Bellanger, Richard; Bouttier, Valentin; Bastien, Jean-Charles; Michotey, Celia; Gautier, Laurent; Fady, Bruno; Musch, Brigitte, 2021, "Survival and growth of 711 forest tree taxa in eight French arboretums from three different climate regions",, Portail Data INRAE, V1

Michotey, Celia; Anger, Christel; Albet, Audrey; Bastien, Catherine; Bastien, Jean-Charles; Bernier, Frédéric; Chancerel, Emilie; Dowkiw, Arnaud; Ducousso, Alexis; Gauvrit, Christophe; Issenhuth, Bernard; Kremer, Antoine; Laffitte, Baptiste; Lefèvre, François; Muratorio, Sylvie; Pâques, Luc; Pastuszka, Patrick; Pichot, Christian; Plomion, Christophe; Raffin, Annie; Rei, Franck; Santi, Frédérique; Séverin, Laurent; Thevenet, Jean; Vauthier, Denis; Veisse, Dominique; Verger, Michel; Villar, Marc; Fady, Bruno, 2021, "Datasets from common gardens of the Forest Genetics Network for Research and Experimentation (GEN4X)",, Portail Data INRAE, V1

Modification date: 05 December 2023 | Publication date: 02 July 2018 | By: Bruno Fady (INRAE)