Philippe THALER


CIRAD - French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development 

 UMR Eco&Sols -
Functional Ecology and Biogeochemistry of Soils and Agro-ecosystems   


Research Field and activities


Current position and activities

Senior researcher in the Eco&Sols joint research unit. I contribute mainly to the " Plant-soil interactions and biogeochemical cycles" research topic of this unit, associating scientists from CIRAD, IRD, INRA and Montpellier Supagro. 

Since 2019, I am the Deputy-Director of the unit, representing CIRAD.

My own research focuses on the ecophysiology of the rubber tree; specifically on the assimilates partitioning and water status related to the physiology of the latex cells and to yield. I study the effects of tapping systems in various environmental conditions. This research is part of Rubberflux, the observatory of rubber plantations in Thailand. 

I also lead multi-disciplinary studies on the sustainability of Natural Rubber production and of small rubber farms confronted to global changes, both socio-economic and climatic (Heveadapt Project, ANR).

These activities take place wihtin the Thai-French Hevea Research Platform in Partnership (HRPP), located at Kasetsart University, Bangkok Thailand. This co-operative platform for research and higher education is developped by Kasetsart University (KU, Bangkok), Prince of Songkla University (PSU, Hat Yai), the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT) and Cirad. Associated members are INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), Montpellier SupAgro, Université de Montpellier, Université B Pascal Clermont-Ferrand on French side, as well as Mahidol University (MU) and Khon Kaen University (KKU), Ubon Ratchatanee University (UBU), and BIOTEC on Thai side. 

Co-advisor of the research work of PhD students from Kasetsart University and Prince of Songkla University on these topics. 


Qualification and expertise

Academic qualification:

Habilitation à diriger des Recherches (HDR) in Plant Ecophysiology (Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, 2010); PhD in Plant Production (Université Montpellier 2, 1996); Engineer degree in Agronomy (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique Toulouse, 1987); M.S. in Plant Production (Institut National Agronomique - Paris Grignon and Université Paris Orsay, 1987).


My specific interest and expertise is the influence of tapping the rubber trunk for latex production on the functionning of the whole tree, particulalry on carbon and water budget.    

Experience in research and cooperation

1988-89 CIRAD, Forestry Department. Pilot project of irrigated tree plantations (Podor, Northern Sénégal)
Scientific assistant. Experimentations on Eucalyptus and Acacia cultivation methods, and associated crops.

1990-93 CIRAD, Tree crop Department, Rubber programme. Agronomist at the Rubber Technical Center (CATH, Gabon) :
- On-field experimentations (Hévégab Estates) on planting methods, cultivation methods, fertilisation.
- Acclimation of microcuttings
- On-field researches on the root system

1993-96 Scientist at the Ecophysiology and Horticulture Research Unit of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Avignon, France.
- Researches on the relationships between rubber tree root and shoot development (Ph. D. research work)

1997-2000 CIRAD, Tree crop Department, Rubber programme, Agronomist at the rubber research and development station of Hévégo (Ivory Coast).
- coordinating agronomical experimentation (109 field experiments on clonal selection, cultivation methods, tapping and physiology, phytopathology, rubber technology).
- teaching and training Ivorian scientists and technical staff

2000-2001 CIRAD Tree crop Department, Rubber programme, Scientist at the Montpellier research center of Cirad.
- Setting-up a project of modelling rubber tree functioning, with the Ecotrop Research Unit (Cirad-Amis) and Piaf Research Unit (INRA Clermont-Ferrand)

2001-2005 CIRAD Tree crop Department, Rubber programme, Scientist at DORAS Center, Kasetsart University, Bangkok Thailand. Project DORAS-Rubber.
- Research on rubber tree ecophysiology, supervising research work of PhD students on carbon and water functioning of the rubber tree and rubber plantations.

2006-2008 CIRAD PERSYST Department, Tree-based cropping systems research unit, Co-ordinator of the DORAS-Rubber Project in Thailand.

2008-2012 CIRAD PERSYST Department, Scientist in the Eco&Sols joint research unit (Functionnal Ecology and Biogeochemestry of Soils and Agro-ecosystems).

- Research on tree ecophysiology, mainly the Rubber tree, but also dry agroforest and the Gum arabic tree (Acacia senegal). Supervising research work of PhD students on carbon and water functioning of the rubber tree and rubber plantations.

2013-2018 CIRAD PERSYST Department, Scientist in the Eco&Sols joint research unit (Functionnal Ecology and Biogeochemestry of Soils and Agro-ecosystems). Coordinator of the HRPP platform, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand.

2018-2019 CIRAD PERSYST Department, Scientist in the Eco&Sols joint research unit (Functionnal Ecology and Biogeochemestry of Soils and Agro-ecosystems). Invited Professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Kunming, China.

2019- CIRAD PERSYST Department, Deputy-Director of the Eco&Sols joint research unit (Functionnal Ecology and Biogeochemestry of Soils and Agro-ecosystems), Montpellier, France.


Teaching and training

Member of PhD thesis committees, advisor for research work in tree ecophysiology.

Special Topics. Flux measurements by eddy-covariance methodology.

Special Topics. Rubber tree ecophysiology. 

Participation to Projects


rubber, rubber tree, rubber plantation, Hévéa, Hevea brasiliensis, latex metabolism, latex yield, tapping, tapping system, LD, latex diagnosis, latex diagnostic, tree physiology, ecophysiology, ecology, environment, carbon, carbon balance, carbon sequestration, carbon budget, CO2, leaf gas-exchanges, photosynthesis, canopy, canopy gas exchange, stomatal conductance, NEE, Net ecosystem exchange, NPP, Net primary productivity, GPP, gross primary productivity, growth, biomass, rubber wood, rubberwood, carbon allocation, resource partition, competition, carbohydrate reserve, starch, storage, sugar, respiration, soil respiration, trunk respiration, root, root growth, root architecture, root system, root turn-over, model, modelling, structure-function, structural-functional, water, water relationships, water stress, hydraulic conductance, hydraulic conductivity, embolism, cavitation, transpiration, sap flow, sapflow, climate, evaporation, evapo-transpiration, evapotranspiration,

Liste CIRAD des publications de Philippe THALER


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