IRN on Cold Forests

International Research Network on Cold Forests

Scientific program: Global changes and dynamics of cold forests
Formerly known as the « GDRI Forêts froides »

Project leads

France: Adam A. Ali, Professor, ISEM (UMR 5554)
Canada: Yves Bergeron, Professor UQAT-UQAM, Forest Research Institute, Industrial Research Chair in Sustainable Forest Management
Sweden: Igor Drobyshev, Professor, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre (SLU)
Finland: Tuomas Aakala, University  of Eastern Finland (UEF)
Norway: Annika Hofgaard, Senior Research Scientist, Norwegian Institute of Nature Research
China: Huang Jian-guo, Chinese Academy of Sciences/South China Botanical Garden
Russia: Alexander Kryshen, Senior Research Scientist, Forest Research Institute of Karelian Research Centre of RAS


The IRN on Cold Forests (formerly known as the « GDRI Forêts froides ») is an international research group that studies how northern hemisphere mountain and boreal ecosystems function. This consortium aims to federate scientific workforces around the study of specific ecosystems and to stabilize existing collaborations among several international partners (Canada, China, Finland, France, Norway, Russia, and Sweden).

The ecological and socio-economic challenges linked to the study of these ecosystems are fundamental with regard to global change (climate and societal). Cold forests present particular ecological characteristics and offer major ecosystem services (e.g., terrestrial carbon storage, fresh water reserves) that highlight the need to  develop a research strategy aiming to understand their centuries-old functioning.

We are developing research around complementary themes, which will make it possible to:

  1. retrace the dynamics of natural disturbances (fire, defoliators, treefall etc) and the consequences on the functioning of forest ecosystems,
  2. quantitatively reconstruct climate change,
  3. characterize the interactions between societies and forest ecosystems over time,
  4. model the functioning of studied ecosystems and propose potential ecological trajectories for the coming decades with regard to global changes (climate and societal).

The IRN on Cold Forests is the training center for master and doctorate students in paleoecology, forest ecology, climate modeling, and biodiversity management. Training takes the form of numerous development internships within and outside the international research network.

Key words: boreal and mountain forests, paleoecology, disturbance ecology, global changes, modeling.