Resilient landscapes to face catastrophic forest fires: Meet the Event Speakers!

EFI is organising an international event that will feature a panel of high-level speakers from the world of politics, academia, rural development and bieconomy as well as forest practice and fire prevention.


“Resilient landscapes to face catastrophic forest fires: global insights towards a new paradigm,” a two-day, high-level international conference on 14-15 October 2019 in Madrid, will bring together stakeholders and experts from around the world to explore holistic approaches for fire resilient landscapes that better integrate the socioeconomic aspects of fire prevention.

These leaders in fire prevention, public action, and socio-economic forest management approaches represent a wide range of academic and practical knowledge, promising both a depth of focus in speakers’ presentations, as well as an impressive breadth of experiences as participants forge connections between science and policy, and identify steps forward through discussion and debate.

Keynote speeches from Peter Moore, Forest Officer of Fire Management for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and Dave E. Calkin, Supervisory Research Forester at the Human Dimensions Program of the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Montana will set the stage for the science and policy focus of the conference.

In a global overview of forest fire trends, Peter Moore will provide a practitioner’s perspective based on both his early fire prevention experience in Australia, as well as the global approaches to fire management he has helped develop through his work at FAO. A leader in research on wildfire prevention and risk reduction, Moore will focus on how to know and understand fires, invest in capacity building, fill knowledge gaps, and communicate to key decisionmakers in order to achieve a comprehensive landscape approach to fire prevention.

Dave E. Calkin will similarly highlight the role of risk management in fire prevention, presenting on the societal expectations, wildfire management organisational culture, and public land values in the United States. As a research forester with the US Forest Service, Dave’s experience marries science and practice, exploring opportunities where economic tools can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of wildland fire management programs and decision-making.

Presentations from around the world provide a global panorama of fire risk reduction approaches at the landscape or territorial scale, as speakers identify social and economic aspects that play a decisive role in the prevention of catastrophic fires, and highlight the social and economic viability of resilient territories.

Francisco Rodríguez y Silva from Cordoba University and Cristina Vega-García from the University of Lleida, both in Spain, discuss the Mediterranean context under global changes, each focussing on preventative modeling for forest fires that combines biophysical aspects, like fire behavior, with economic and social indicators for integrated protection and treatment of the forest landscape.

Luca Tacconi, from the Australian National University, will address the implication of fire on rural livelihoods and environmental governance based on many years of work improving community fire management in rural areas of Indonesia. Also highlighting the importance of community action to build resilient landscapes, Val Charlton, from LANDWORKS South Africa, will present on her work to create resilient landscapes by engaging local people in their own fire prevention, while also working for poverty alleviation and to improve land use management, thus enhancing social and environmental resilience in the area.

On the second day of the conference, case studies and a multifaceted panel discussion seek to ground the first day’s high-level scientific and policy presentations in on-the-ground practice, highlighting the opportunities for coordination and action between scientists and policymakers, and practitioners like forest owners, local governments, and firefighters.

Case presentations from Ana Morgado, from the Government of Barcelona, Spain; Rosario Alves, from the Forestry Association of Portugal; Elena Hernández Paredes, from the Fire Defense Group of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; and Javier Ezquerra, from the Administration of Castille and Leon, Spain, will elaborate the specific Mediterranean context of megafire prevention and resilient landscapes. These presentations seek to highlight the role of stakeholders whose grounded experience provides a lens through which to translate high-level policy visions into effective actions, working towards a forest management approach that is integrated across scales, as well as across disciplines.

In the final session of the event, a dynamic panel discussion brings together Marc Castellnou, the Head of GRAF, of the Firefighters of Catalonia; our keynote speaker Dave E. Calkin; Cathelijne Stoof from the Wageningen Fire Centre; and Marta Corella, the Mayor of Orea, Spain. These diverse panelists are uniquely positioned to evaluate the scientific and policy approaches put forth on the first day of the event, and identify which approaches are possible to implement, and what is needed to face the economic and social challenges for rural zones and areas with high fire risk.

The many leaders and experts who will convene in Madrid aim not only to elevate and contribute to the scientific discussion of the socio-economic aspects of fire risk and prevention, but also seek to identify and elaborate potential actions for a clear path forward to co-construct fire resilient territories in the Mediterranean and beyond.

In this respect, the event is honoured to welcome two former state leaders to frame the event with a high-level dialogue to address visions for rural areas in Europe. Former Prime Minister of Spain, Felipe González and Former Prime Minister of Finland, Esko Aho, will discuss the role of rural areas and the bioeconomy to strengthen community and landscape resilience in the face of megafires, drawing on their many years of experience as political leaders, as well as their current advocacy work.

Read speakers’ full biographies, see who is moderating the sessions, and learn more about the conference and the technical visits organised for the attendees on the event website!

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EFIMED is the Mediterranean Facility of the European Forest Institute. Based in Barcelona, Spain, it was launched in 2007.