Postdoctoral position OT-14818

Integrative modelling of thinning effects on tree water status and vulnerability to cavitation in Atlas cedar plantations


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France. The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

Using thinning to decrease tree density is one of the main recommendations to adapt forest management to warmer and drier climates. Thinning reduces competition for light and water between the remaining trees, which leads to both better growth and better water status. Thinning also leads to a less favorable micro-climate within the canopy. The in-situ observed result of those antagonistic effects is almost universally positive, but fades as the stand foliage regrows. Yet, some studies show that a positive effect on tree water status is still measurable a long time (>20 years) after thinning occurred. Such is the case of Atlas cedar plantations at Valliguières (Gard), even though the leaf area index is similar for all thinning levels.

This postdoc project has two goals: 1) explain the long term positive effect of thinning on tree water status at Valliguières, and 2) characterize the extend to which the negative effect of degrading micro-climate with thinning could become more prominent with climate warming. The work will make use of a process-based model, NOTG, which is individual-based and spatially explicit. This model is able to take into account the changes in the canopy spatial structure created by thinning, and, coupled with hydraulic processes, to predict the consequences of altered micro-climate on tree water status and vulnerability to cavitation.

Our research unit is located at the regional INRAE center in Avignon, south-east France. Research focuses on the vulnerability and adaptation of forests to climate change. It encompasses genetics, ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, entomology, and fire, with a strong emphasis on multi-disciplinary approaches, with a mix of modelling and experiments. URFM forest study sites contribute to several networks : ICOS, AnaEE, InSylva.

Training and skills



- holding a PhD in a field related to the subject (ecology, plant physiology, bio-geochemistry);

- strong knowledge of plant ecophysiology, in particular of plant function at the soil-plant and leaf-atmosphere interfaces;

- experience in process-based modelling;

- ability to present and write scientific results in English.


- experience in C++ programming;

- experience in using a spatially explicit model;

- knowledge of forest management;

- research experience on Mediterranean ecosystems and/or on drought effects on trees.

Further information :

About the NOTG model:

Simioni G, Marie G, Huc R. 2016. Influence of vegetation spatial structure on growth and water fluxes of a mixed forest: Results from the NOTG 3D model. Ecological Modelling 328:119–135.

A propos du site de Valliguières :

Courbet F, Martin-StPaul N, Simioni G, Doussan C, Ladier J, Badel E. 2019. Agir sur la sensibilité à la sécheresse par la sylviculture. Forêt-Entreprise 249:46-48.


INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from (depending on the type of contract and its duration):

- up to 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: trainingcareer advise;
social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

How to apply

I send my CV and my motivation letter
inrajobs_URFM_GSimioni_2022 eng.docxdocx - 18.21 KB

Offer reference

  • Contract: Postdoctoral position
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Beginning: As soon as possible
  • Remuneration: 2500-2700€ gross salary per month depending on experience
  • Reference: OT-14818
  • Dealine: 01/06/2022


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