Francis Hallé is the youngest of seven children, born to an agronomist father and a mother fond of art, history and poetry. He comes from a long line of travelers, doctors and painters, all deeply inspired by different cultures and far-off lands.
During the Second World War, Hallé found refuge with his family on an agricultural property (one hectare!) near the forest of Fontainebleau, where he realized that a small plot of land can cover the needs of a large family. Initiated into this field by his father, Francis Hallé developed a deep admiration for the forest and a great respect for each tree within it.
Influenced by his older brother, Nicolas, a botanist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, he used his university studies in biology to specialize in tropical botany. He then moved, with his family, to various tropical regions to study primary forests: first to the Ivory Coast where his children were born, then to Congo, Zaire and Indonesia.
“All my research has been devoted to tropical plants, in particular those found in humid forests at low latitudes. From 1964, I specialized in the study of the architecture of vascular plants; with a first formalization achieved in 1970 with the concept of an “architectural model”. In 1978, with the help of Professors R.A.A. Oldeman (Wageningen, Netherlands) and P.B. Tomlinson (Harvard, MA), this formalization was completed and developed further into the concept of ‘reiteration’. An experimental approach to architectural determinism was used (forest Rubiaceae, Hevea, tree ferns). I am currently working on matching architectural data with systems from molecular phylogenesis.”
Between 1960 and 2004, Francis Hallé produced 63 academic publications in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. This does not include newspaper or journal articles, prefaces, film texts, interviews, etc.
He is also the author of numerous books published by Actes Sud, Muséo Editions, Arthaud, Livre de Poche...
He was scientific advisor and co-writer of the film Once Upon a Forest directed by Luc Jacquet.
2014 – 2015 – 2016 : “Trees” exhibition organized successively at the Upper church in Banon, the Chapelle de l’Observance in Draguignan, in Septèmes les Vallons, and at the Museum of Natural History in Rouen.
Correspondent for the National Museum of Natural History (Paris) and the Botanical Society of America (Saint Louis, MO)
Life Member of the Malayan Nature Society
David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration (US)
Honorary degree from Florida International University (Miami)