Building the future by doing more together

RECOVER -Immediate soil management strategy for recovery after forest fires
Coordinator - Celeste Coelho
Programme - PTDC/AGR/AAM/73350/2006
Execution dates - 2007-06-01 - 2010-11-30 (42 Months)
Funding Entity - Fundação para a Ciência e para a Tecnologia
Funding for CESAM - 86518 €
Total Funding - 170340 €
Proponent Institution - Universidade de Aveiro
Participating Institutions
Escola Superior Agrária de Coimbra (ESAC/IPC)
Universidade do Minho (UM)

RECOVER aims to develop mitigation techniques and strategies to reduce soil and water degradation immediately after forest fires. Forest fires are becoming increasingly frequent as a result of climate change and poor forest planning, with deleterious impacts on soil fertility and structure. It erodes the top soil layers, where is located the only nutrient pool of the majority of Portuguese soils. This nutrient mobilization happens during the fist autumn rainfall events, and therefore sediment and nutrient exportation typically occurs in the first 4 months after fire. The speed at which nutrient loss occurs and the extension of forest fires limits in terms of costs and logistics the solutions that can be taken to reduce soil and water degradation. RECOVER presents an innovative approach based on field surveys of soil and vegetation properties following forest fires, which will be used to perform a GIS database from which the critical spots will be identified with the help of a Dynamic Geomorphology Conceptual Model, which will be validated by subsequent visits to the field after the autumn rains. The main aim of this first project stage is to produce a field manual, which will provide forest managers with a tool that allows them to identify at a glance where to intervene to get the best cost effective results in terms of soil and water conservation. In addition, RECOVER will test a set of feasible solutions to reduce ash flush, including the use of mulch, debris, trunks, plowing, seedling, etc, sole or in association. The proposed approach presents an innovative integration of field measurement techniques. The evaluation of the efficiency of the different approaches will be made in terms of the soil and water conservation results, costs and acceptance by the key actors and stakeholders. For the effect, RECOVER will perform a perception analysis to all those with responsibilities in forest management. This is essential to produce feasible solutions that will be easily adopted by forest managers and forest owners. To get an improved insight on the degradation processes and how the different techniques improve soil and water conservation in burned areas, lysimeter trials will be performed, to study in detail the overland flow and percolation fluxes (including water and nutrients), for several fire intensities, slope angles, aspect, treatments, etc. The project will deliver a manual to identify the spots where intervention must be made to get the best cost-effective results, and the best techniques to each situation. It will be written for key actors and stakeholders. RECOVER will deliver a strategy and recommendations to mitigate nutrient loss.

Members on this project

António Ferreira
Celeste Coelho

Sandra M. Valente


CESAM Funding: