About the project

  08/03/2018    Christophe Orazio.

About the project    

The REINFFORCE project addressed Priority B of the INTERREG IVB operational programme, allowing its installation from 2009 to 2013. The consortium continues to operate the network with on its own funds and is looking for funding opportunities and partnerships to launch synchronous measurement campaigns on all the sites for phenology, health status and genetics of the installed populations in order to identify the interaction of the climate with these parameters.

The reality of global warming is universally recognised. Optimistic scenarios predict a temperature rise of around 4°C in the next 50 years. However, little is known of this increase in temperature’s regional consequences, especially in oceanic areas. A number of uncertainties remain at different levels. These may be: climatic (i.e., local changes in rainfall, change in the Gulf Stream, etc.), economic (i.e., changes in fossil fuel costs, in the importance of world trade, etc.) and environmental (i.e., modifications of forest pest and pathogens populations, rise of sea levels, etc.).

Although climate change’s impacts on the European Atlantic coast cannot be accurately modelled, specific threats have been identified by modellers, such as the disruption of tree life cycles, the appearance of new pathogens, and the maladaptation of local species to new climatic conditions.

This project offered the opportunity to install a unique network extending from 37° to 56° North latitude, to monitor the evolution of climate change and to test the effectiveness of recommended adaptive measures. Reinfforce is therefore a key facility to study the sustainability of forest resources, because the trees planted today will be harvested in 50 years’ time, and will have to be able to withstand the new climatic conditions.

Therefore, the aim of this network is to bring together the research resources and skills of 11 institutes to address a transnational issue: the adaptation of Atlantic forests to climate change. Through this project, we established a cooperation tool to assess the effects of climatic changes based on 5 groups of activities:

A preparation phase to analyse existing facilities, species and available knowledge as well as to define protocols for the installation of facilities and data collection,

An administrative coordination activity and evaluation of actions’ progress,

Building a network of 38 arboreta to anticipate the impacts of climate change on species by planting them outside their current distribution area;

Setting up 41 demonstration sites to compare current forestry with other techniques of adaptation to climate change;

Implementing a harmonised data collection and exchange system to monitor the growth, health and life cycles of Atlantic forests.

An off-budget objective of the project was to strengthen the sustainability of the IEFC network, created 1999. The project contributed to funding IEFC (EFIATLANTIC) as the Regional Office of the European Forest Institute for Portugal, France, Spain, UK and Ireland, in order to further integrate the network at the European level. This project was therefore an opportunity to build on the environmental monitoring knowledge developed by participants in a previous INTERREG IIIB project called FORSEE, and to expand the network to the UK.

This infrastructure is an essential first step to start future research on solutions for forest adaptation to climate change. As each public partner is responsible for a limited number of sites, the sustainability of the network is ensured, and these sites can be used for transfer actions.

The REINFFORCE budget was of the REINFFORCE project amounted to 4 million euros for 4 years, divided between 11 partners: the European Institute of Planted Forest (IEFC), Forest Research (FR), National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment ( (INRAe-Pierroton), National Centre of Forest Property – Institute for Forestry Development (CNPF-IDF), Gestión Ambiental de Navarra (GAN), HAZI Konsultoria, NEIKER Tecnalia, Fundación General de la Universidad de Valladolid (FGUVA), CIF Lourizan and Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA).