Forging sustainability

FEMME - Development of a post-Fire Erosion risk Modelling tool for forest Management decision support, in particular, the application of Emergency stabilization measures
Coordinator - Diana Catarina Simões Vieira
Programme - Projetos de Investigação Científica e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico no âmbito da Prevenção e Combate de Incêndios Florestais - 2017
Execution dates - 2019-02-15 - 2022-02-14 (36 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Funding for CESAM - 160935 €
Total Funding - 200000 €
Proponent Institution -
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro
Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e Desenvolvimento (IST-ID)

The socio-economic and environmental loss as a consequence of the recurrent wildfires in Portugal is a major national concern. Still, not all the wildfire impacts are being considered, such as soil loss and the mobilization of pollutants to aquatic habitats during the post-fire period. The national mitigation strategy to this problem has generally focused the attention to fire prevention and firefighting, mostly because of the lack of methodologies that can provide an early diagnosis of the wildfire impacts. In this framework, this project proposal aims to provide a set of tools to help forest managers in the post-fire decision-making, and therefore adequately implement mitigation measures. These tools consist in the soil erosion risk estimations in case of a wildfire, followed by a proposal of several emergency solutions for soil protection and impact reduction, considering various environmental and socio-economic restrictions (e.g. climate change, costs, burn severity). In this sense we propose the test of several soil erosion models, and the one that best fits the national reality will be used as a base of a tool to support forest management decision-making. Similarly to an emergency plan, the soil erosion risk after a wildfire maps will become available, together with a vulnerability report and a proposal of mitigation measures for burned areas. Besides that, the online tool will become available to aid the forest management decision-making, that not only calculates the best mitigation investment scenario as also provides the information of the applicable laws and recommendations regarding other traditional management practices.

To accomplish the project objectives, each activity will be separated with a workshop and a final conference with the participation of the project researchers and a group of forest stakeholders. The objective of this structure is to stimulate the interaction between both groups, allowing the recent findings flow from scientist to forest agents, and to improve the perception of the difficulties in the decision-making by the forest managers to the scientists. During these workshops/conference some presentations, field trips and a small modelling exercise will be made by both groups. Should be highlighted the synergies between both national institutions during the implementation of this project, with shown knowledge regarding hydrological modelling (IST) and the over-13 years’ experience in the study of the post-fire impacts in the Portuguese forests (UA). Additionally to that, there is a strong collaboration with international governmental institutions with a great experience in the implementation of post-fire mitigation measures in Spain and in USA (CIF, BAER), and the forest national authority (ICNF), responsible for the coordination of forest restauration activities. We will also count with the expertise of the European Commission (Joint Research Centre, JRC), that modelled soil erosion at European scale.

CESAM Funding: