During the project meeting held in Coimbra, the consortium discussed about the fire risk and the climate change projections which will be analised in the study. Climate change will cause an increase in fire risks, in the number and the intensity of droughts, and will reduce the availability of water resources.
The European project LIFE RESILIENT FOREST is starting to define the main aspects necessary to implement the decision support tool. The project meeting was held from 22 to 24 May, with the objective to learn about the latest progress and to exchange ideas about how to develop the software which will determine the optimal forest management system to maximize the economic viability of ecosystem services.“This meeting is fundamental for the progess of the project, since the different models – hydrological, fire risk, and climate change, will be directly related to each other, so it is necessary to take into account the differences, the interests and the reality of each project partner”, says María González Sanchís, project coordinator and research. IIAMA-UPV (Instituto de Ingeniería del Agua y Medio Ambiente de la Universitat Politècnica de València).
During the meeting, partners discussed about the indicators related to fire risk and climate change projections, which will be analised and integrated into the decision suppor tool.
“Regarding the first factor, the intensity of fires, the speed of propagation, vertical-horizontal fire transition and tree survival probability will be the variables which will be linked to fire extinction and restoration costs, in order to estimate the economic benefit deriving from a sustainable forest management”, Dr. González Sanchís explains. For the second aspect, the consortium agreed that climate change projections will be observed at watershed scale and at European level, and how these affect the different scenarios of water availability in the watersheds. In addition, partners agreed to create a repository of different regional projections for Mediterranean, Central and Northern Europe.
Finally, María González highlighted the importance of this research, since the forecasts of climate change on mediterranean forests are not very positive.
“Climate change will increase both the number and the intensity of droughts in many parts of Europe, it will affect the availability of water resources an it will increase the risk of forest wildfires. For this reason, it is necessary to develop adaptation measures. RESILIENT FOREST project is a good example for this, as it is trying to quantify via a software tool, what type of forest management can be attractive both for public administrations and for private forest owners”, Maria concluded.