Oak Observatory at the OHP


Open-air Platform

Parent institution: CNRS
Active since 2010
Active through 2009-today

Co-located with

  • ICOS

Fields of study

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric chemistry and physics
  • Isotopic chemistry
  • Climatology, Climate Change
  • Environmental sciences, Pollution
  • Geophysics
  • Soil science
  • Microbiology
  • Terrestrial biology, Ecology
  • Paleoecology

Contact Information

email: mathieu.santonja@imbe.fr

email: reiter@eccorev.fr

the site is equipped with an automated environmental sensing network air, canopy soil, accessible through a dedicated database. Canopy access for the shade and sun crown of dominant trees. Automated soil CO2 efflux system. Participation to SAPFLUXNET. High-end infrastructure for electricity, ethernet, climatised-lab conditions, and field laboratory. Scientific engineer and engineer assistant permanently affiliated to the site. Infrastructure for accommodation, restauration, conferences, mechanic and electronic workshops. Close vicinity to RI ICOS, ACTRIS, NDACC. Running > 10 years in well-protected environment.

The Location

Country: France

Latitude: 43.93638889

Longitude: 5.717777778

Nearest town: 04870 St Michel l'Observatoire

Distance from neaerst town: 2 km

Relevant Research Questions

Enveloping question : Response of Mediterranean forest functioning and biodiversity to Climate Change. Main research axis therein are on processes relating to (i) biogenic VOC emissions und resulting particle formation (ii) litter decomposition and effects on the soil fauna and microbial communities (iii) ecosystem-atmosphere exchange, including trace gas studies and remote sensing of fluorescence (iv) allelopathy and (phenology).


Close vicinity (on site) to RI ICOS, ACTRIS, NDACC. Running > 10 years in well-protected environment. Ideal for interdisciplinary and transversal research, fostered by calls of the research federation ECCOREV.


No major limitations. Electricity: The site is power by 3*60A; some of which are reserved for the functioning of the precipitation and irrigation devices, and the environmental sensing network. Water at the site is available during daytime. Access to data of former scientific studies needs to be improved, additional manpower to assure robust functioning in the peak season has been demanded.

Experimental Capabilities

Experimental Facilities

enclosed fields for experimental seedlings and other plant manipulations

Experiments duration: Weeks, Months, Years, Decades;

Experimental Aerea

Total area: 9200 m²

Available area: 20000 m²

Experimental Unit Size

unit size: 600 m²


Replicates number: 0


Temporary storage

  • Drying oven
  • Freezer
  • Liquid N
  • Refrigerator

Available Instruments

  • Portable gas exchange system (Licor, 6400 XT with CO2 mixer, Fluorescence chamber, soil chamber, conifer chamber)
  • Leaf Area index meter (Licor, LAI-2000, 1 unit)
  • Leaf porometer (Delta-T, AP4)
  • Spectroradiometer (ASD, Fieldspec4 hi-res)
  • LI-8100 soil CO2 efflux system with survey chamber
  • Tree height meter

Electricity available on site.

Distance from Laboratory facilities


Years measured: 1961-2010 Météo France T&Precip, and local data since 2014 for Wind


Mean Temperature: 12 °C

February Mean Temperature: 4.9 °C

July Mean Temperature: 21.2 °C


Mean Annual Speed: 2.7 m/s

Max. Annual Speed: m/s

Dominant Direction: 320°


Precipitation type: Both;

Total annual precipitation: 830 mm

Mean snow cover duration: 0 days

Soil Types

State Variables

Continuously Measured

  • Air humidity
  • Air temperature
  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Canopy temperature
  • Incident PAR
  • Soil temperature
  • Soil water content

Spot Measured

  • Fluorescence
  • Phenology
  • Population densities
  • Species richness

Environmental Pressures

Variable Ecosystem Status
Warming Forest Planned
Soilerosion Forest Planned
Management - Nutrients (levels or nutrient type) Forest Planned
Management - conventional vs. organic or other eco-friendly practice Forest Planned
Management - species and/or ecotype combinations Forest Active
Management - traditional (or native) vs. new (or non-native) species Forest Active
Biodiversity Forest Active

On site Staff and Accomodation

Peak season staff

Up to 20 people

Off season staff

Up to 20 people

Visiting personnel

Up to 50 visitors

Bedrooms available

Up to 48 beds

Showers on site

Showers on site

No laundry on site