PILOTE network (Pilote planting sites)

PILOTE network (Pilote planting sites)

PILOTE network (Pilote planting sites)
Coordination : Champenoux, 54280, France

The PILOTE network, initiated in 2013, implements experiments to design and promote innovative trajectories for planting. It aims to quantify the technical, economic and environmental performance of trajectories integrating different methods of mechanised site preparation.

Currently, the network consists of 13 sites, all of which are active. These sites are located mainly in the northern half of France, with various site conditions, some of which have strong constraints for planting. The sites are monitored over at least 10 years in order to evaluate the complete trajectory until the young stand has reached a height of about 3m.

Each site is planted in one species (sessile oak, Douglas fir, Scots pine, or maritime pine) and is designed to compare 4 to 6 methods of mechanised site preparation. The plots are large (1 ha) and there is no duplication of the treatments within the site. The mechanised site preparation methods studied are adapted to each site and therefore differ among sites. Nevertheless, most of the methods are repeated several times throughout the network.

When the sites were installed, machinery use and tree planters were timed to estimate the productivity of the methods. All maintenance operations in the years following planting are recorded and their cost is indicated.

A follow-up of the seedlings and accompanying vegetation is carried out annually in the first few years. Sylvicultural profiles are carried out in certain modes.

Services offer

The data collected from all the sites are centralized and available for use in collaborative projects.


The network is coordinated by the Pôle Renfor Silva UMR (INRAE Nancy).  The experiments are monitored by the various network partners (INRAE, ONF RDI department, FCBA, IDF-CNPF, Société Forestière, Groupe Coopération Forestière) depending on the geographical proximity of the teams. The different partners also ensure links with land owners and managers.

Operations and data access

The network's experimental sites are open to other research teams 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

Cost determined according to each project

Available measurements

No particular devices

Modification date: 16 August 2023 | Publication date: 12 June 2018 | By: Catherine Collet (INRAE) - Juin 2018