We live in a changing world. Droughts and shifts in climate lead to hotter, dryer, and windier seasons in many temperate areas. People are increasingly relocating to where urban areas and forests meet. In many regions, including across the Mediterranean, abandonment of traditional agriculture, forestry, and other land uses have led to a build-up of biomass in forests.
The combination of these changes is also fuelling the growing risk of megafires. These events, which can wreak devastating economic, social, and environmental damage, are a particular threat in temperate zones, like the Mediterranean region, parts of Australia, the Southwestern US and southern Africa. As the threat of megafires becomes more urgent, the costs of suppression – and the human and environmental costs of fire occurrence – grow ever larger.
In a two-day high-level workshop to be held on 14-15 October 2019 in Madrid, the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), with support from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, will bring together stakeholders and experts to discuss the viability of a more holistic, integrated paradigm of managing forest fire risks preventively, featuring in particular socioeconomic aspects of fire risks and their mitigation. Recognising the limits of current fire suppression strategies and policies, as well as the increased risk of fire due to challenging social and biophysical factors, this workshop aims to take stock of experiences from five continents to advance a collective vision about landscape-focused fire prevention strategies.
Through country-specific presentations, panel discussion and open debate, this workshop sets out to broaden the fire agenda: how do we define, collectively implement, and empirically evaluate the impact of strategies to achieve fire-resilient landscapes? Confirmed speakers already include the economist David E. Calkin from the Rocky Mountain Research Station (USA) as keynote speaker, Luca Tacconia, from the Australian National University, Canberra (Australia), and Cristina Vega-Garcia from the University of Lleida (Spain).
Throughout the two-day event, expert participants will reflect on the global examples, scientific research, innovative elements and intervention options presented to consider how socio-economic dimensions can be incorporated into practical landscape-level approaches to fire prevention and suppression.
Further information on this event, speakers, and registration information will be posted on MedForest at the beginning of September.
More information on wildfires can be found on MedForest.