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Tag: wildfire

Creating mosaic landscapes: integrating vineyards to prevent wildfires and increase resilience

Discover how agroforestry mosaic landscapes in La Plana de Manlleu, Catalonia, Northeastern Spain, with multifunctional vineyard firebreak buffers, prevent wildfires while offering socio-economic benefits and…

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Wildfire science enters the Spanish Congress 

The work of Oficina C brings science to policymaking in Spain 

In 2019, the church of Notre Dame burnt down. Citizens of Hong Kong took the streets to protest for a better democracy. Students protested against inequality in Chile. The Amazon burned (and the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas went viral). Theresa May resigned as prime minister of the UK, and Simone Biles became the gymnast with the most medals in the history of world championships. Anyone slightly following the news probably remembers most of these events. 

However, in this blogpost I will talk about something else that happened in 2019, in this case in Spain, that went unheard of for most. It was the year when the Spanish Congress approved the creation of the Office for Science and Technology (Oficina C), in order to support a scientifically informed debate in the lower House. And you may wonder why is this relevant at all. It is relevant, because we live in the era of the “post-truth”. An era when fake-news appear on a daily basis, and where online disinformation is a matter of public concern. Making scientific findings accessible for policymakers has always been relevant, but now we need to facilitate evidence-based discussions more than ever.  

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Protecting your home from forest fires at zero cost: saving forests and money

The FireWise communities are an inspiring example of good practices applied in the Mediterranean context that help us defend ourselves against the consequences of forest fires. These practices are being documented by the ResAlliance project to promote knowledge exchange across the region.

When a house, a garden, or private land burns down, it is not just property that burns. What goes away are the daily lives of entire families and communities, which subsequently have to try to get back on their feet with great difficulty and after a long time. All this happens every time a forest fire breaks out.

The European project ResAlliance is collecting good practices to improve land resilience in the context of the Mediterranean basin, especially those necessary to deal with the consequences of climate change, such as prolonged periods of drought and forest fires. These include those related to the increase in the number and intensity of forest fires, which are increasingly frequent and intense and with whose risk we must learn to live with now, not ‘tomorrow’.

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ResAlliance as an integrated approach to landscape management

In this interview, David Martín, Project Manager at Pau Costa Foundation, explains the organisation’s role in the EU-funded ResAlliance project and gives his own point of view on some aspects of landscape resilience in the Mediterranean.

A key feature of ResAlliance is the LandLabs. These are programmes of activities and networking platforms in five Mediterranean regions that seek to engage farmers and foresters with a variety of stakeholders and practices in landscape management so that they can gain insight into innovative solutions. David Martín and Mariona Borràs, from the Fundació Pau Costa (Pau Costa Foundation, PCF), are Resilience Ambassadors of the LandLab in Catalonia and the general coordinators of all five LandLabs.

David Martín has been working at PCF since 2019. Educated in environmental science and biodiversity conservation, he became involved in the wildfire domain after working as a volunteer looking into the impact of wildfires in Lithuania in 2011.  After this, he worked as a consultant in Spain and a researcher at the University of Greenwich, in the UK. He remembers his time doing research as very fruitful for his career. In fact, it allowed him to develop his current role as Project Manager. Now, he is mainly involved in European Union-funded projects and exploring the potential to address biodiversity and conservation criteria in more holistic wildfire risk management. 

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Wildfire Diaries Episode VII: “The living proof of the value of exchange”

The latest edition of the Wildifire Diaries by Vallfirest starring Alex Held, Senior Expert of Fire Management, Silviculture and Wildlife at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and project leader of “Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz” (Forestfires-Climate-Resilience , in short: WKR).

In this episode Alex chats about how he started as a firefighter in South Africa as a complete greenhorn, facing unbelievable extents of fire, but also learning about tools used for fire management he has not seen before.

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Global Forest Finance Pledge at the COP26: new ammunition in the fight against deforestation or just more of the same?

Under the umbrella of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the ongoing 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, 124 countries have just signed a Declaration on Forests and Land Use,[1] (from now on referred to as the Glasgow Declaration) as of 2 November 2021. The declaration sets out to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 and facilitate a sustainable land-use transition. Substantial progress has also been made with regards to the mobilisation of finances for forests. For instance, as part of issuing a Global Forest Finance Pledge,[2] the EU, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, South Korea, and the United States of America have announced that they will provide 12 billion USD of public climate finance between 2021-2025. This financial pledge will aim to support action on restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires, and advancing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. It can also be noted that the national governments of 28 countries have committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa. These are industries that, in part, drive global deforestation (e.g., forest loss generated by the demand for agricultural land). In connection with the Glasgow Declaration, major financial companies have likewise made additional commitments to end investments in activities linked to deforestation.

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Looking beyond the flames: When does an extreme wildfire start?

Written by Isabeau Ottolini Isabeau Ottolini is an Early Stage Researcher within the European ITN project, PyroLife. She is researching Community-based Communications on extreme wildfires. For the next few months, she is part of our EFI…

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Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects

What does climate change adaptation look like in Southern France? Is there anything we – in Central Europe – can learn from our colleagues in the South? Is risk management an issue there and do forest risk experts know the European Forest Risk Facility?

These were the questions – among others – that I had before attending the international symposium “Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects” on 19-20 November 2019 in Toulouse, France.

The symposium was organized by the FORECCAST project, partially funded through the EU LIFE project,  aiming to provide Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park producers and forest managers with means to build a forest management strategy that takes into account the impact of climate change. Goal of the project is to raise awareness of the challenges posed by global change among stakeholders, elected representatives and the general public within that region.

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The fourth wave of feminism: women and fire

From Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf and Judith Butler to Malala Yousafzai – the so-called fourth wave of feminism has seen people mobilized through social media. Undoubtedly, many have recognized the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment and assault.
This wave also comes with a claim for cultural products to portray women’s role in history. Long before there was Internet, women in the US were pursuing equal opportunities as they fought wildfires side by side with men in the 1910s. Your Natural Forest magazine recently published “Drawn to Flame: Women Forged by Wildfire”, an article on women who found their way into fighting wildfire.

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Fighting fire by the book

Euronews featured a comprehensive article with interviews from our European Forest Risk Facility experts, Alexander Held (EFI) and Marc Castellnou (Pau Costa Foundation) on how to tackle wildfires, aiming at summarizing the lessons learned of fighting wildfires.
Castellnou emphasizes that all the related research helps them predict how the fire will develop and make an effective use of resources. Held explains the three main factors to consider when assessing a fire: wind, terrain and the direction of the blaze. He then elaborates on dry firefighting tactics for preventing the fire to spread, such as digging channels along the flanks of the blaze and removing vegetation with prescribed burns.

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