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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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The Wood-Stock team sets its research within the larger framework of the study of forest ecosystems structure and functioning, effects of chronic and exceptional changes of environmental factors, and sustainable supply of ecosystem services. The Wood-Stock research work focuses on wood formation and properties, traditional and innovative uses.

Starting by looking into wood uses, arises a question with applicable outcomes: within the available resources, what are the wood qualities regarding different uses, and how can it be made the most of them? To answer this question, the research theme is both multi-scaled (from the cell wall to the regional territories) and multi-functional (accounting for forest carbon sequestration in forests and/or substituted in wood products; satisfaction of several and hierarchical wood uses). This theme, on the one hand, includes the analysis and quantification of the variability of volumes, properties (density, biomass, rate and quantity of extractives) and tree features (knottiness, other defects) that characterises the resource. Growth-quality models are designed to evaluate the effect of distinct silvicultural scenarios. On the other hand, this theme develops new methods of resource qualification, in partnership with scientists involved in computer science, artificial intelligence and image analysis, all within the framework of national and international projects. Because the results are meant to be applied, it takes into account social and geographical factors – these contribute to better match the current or envisioned supply and demand of diverse wood characteristics. In order to do so, the research theme gradually established partnerships with researchers from geographic, economic, human, and social sciences as well as research and development.

Then appears a second question: how are these wood quality and tree characteristics developing in the living ecosystem? This question places the research team in the fields of ecophysiology and functional ecology. In order to answer it, two specific topics are looked into:

- The biomechanics of trees within stands is studied and modelled as a paradigm of the multi-scale analysis of trees functioning and development and of the ecosystem. Going further, an original expertise is developed about wind as a growth-modulating factor, particularly of the stem growth and the properties of its wood. To the wind are associated other environmental factors, such as drought and forest operations.

- The formation of wood, its properties and their variations inside the tree are studied through the time-space dynamics of xylogenesis, in relation to ontogenic factors (internal) and environmental factors (external), including climate variations (particularly temperature and water balance).

The multi-scale approach leads to close collaborations with the three others scientific UMR Silva teams. In addition, the modelling of growth and quality under the effect of environmental, silvicultural and tree development factors is facilitated by UMR Silva's traditional expertise and analysis infrastructures (especially the SilvaTech platform).  Finally, it is by taking advantage of the ForestInnLab's skills that partnerships with geographic, human and Innovation sciences are established so that i. quality criteria are continuously enriched and ii. innovation projects (e.g. ExtraFor_Est on chemical extractives) are co-constructed with industrial stakeholders, research laboratories working on products and processes, and potential recipients of the results.

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