EFIMED Hosts Strategic Mediterranean-Russia Workshop

Twenty experts, scientists and policy makers from Russian and Mediterranean regions met in Barcelona on 20-21 March to discuss strategies and management approaches to address the increasing risk of forest fires.

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Discussions centred on fire prevention and fire suppression as well as forest management, economics and forest policy considerations. During the meetings a common understanding of the causes and drivers of fire risk, synergies and similarities in addressing forest fires between Russia and European countries was identified. They share a joint common language of fire fighting and possibilities for future cooperation.

The field trip on the second day of the workshop offered the participants the opportunity to take part in practical communication and peer-to peer discussions in the forest, with multinational fire fighting experts. Participants saw how the use of prescribed burning to mitigate the risk of forest fires can be strategically planned and implemented with the agreement of forest owners and locals.  They also visited a dispatch centre in Bellaterra, Catalonia, to meet with officials from the fire service and emergency responders.

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 During the workshop the participants agreed that the increasing risk of forest fires should be addressed in a sustainable way by dealing with the root causes of the problem. In most cases these causes lie outside the forest sector as they are related to agricultural practices and especially to the rapidly changing rural world, which lacks the economic drivers to maintain viable economic activities and a population that would manage the landscapes in a resilient and cost-effective way.


Discussions included representatives from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the UK. The workshop was a practical example of collaboration and cooperation which connected experts and decision-makers from different European countries in informal settings to try and get to the root causes of problems and speed up the circulation of existing knowledge. The dialogue and cooperation on forest fires will continue via the start-up project for a European Forest Risk Facility (FRISK-GO).

Further information: Marc Palahí, Deputy Director (marc.palahi(at)efi.int)

Photos: Inazio Martinez de Arano

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