Jump to Main Content
Landscape – wildfire interactions in southern Europe: Implications for landscape management
- Moreira, Francisco, Viedma, Olga, Arianoutsou, Margarita, Curt, Thomas, Koutsias, Nikos, Rigolot, Eric, Barbati, Anna, Corona, Piermaria, Vaz, Pedro, Xanthopoulos, Gavriil, Mouillot, Florent, Bilgili, Ertugrul
- Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2389-2402
- climate, environmental impact, fire hazard, fire weather, fuel loading, guidelines, issues and policy, land cover, land use change, landscape management, landscapes, shrublands, wildfires, Mediterranean region
- Every year approximately half a million hectares of land are burned by wildfires in southern Europe, causing large ecological and socio-economic impacts. Climate and land use changes in the last decades have increased fire risk and danger. In this paper we review the available scientific knowledge on the relationships between landscape and wildfires in the Mediterranean region, with a focus on its application for defining landscape management guidelines and policies that could be adopted in order to promote landscapes with lower fire hazard. The main findings are that (1) socio-economic drivers have favoured land cover changes contributing to increasing fire hazard in the last decades, (2) large wildfires are becoming more frequent, (3) increased fire frequency is promoting homogeneous landscapes covered by fire-prone shrublands; (4) landscape planning to reduce fuel loads may be successful only if fire weather conditions are not extreme. The challenges to address these problems and the policy and landscape management responses that should be adopted are discussed, along with major knowledge gaps.