RELEVANCE, TIMELESS AND NOVELTY
ICOPFIRES will be the first international congress about prescribed fires in Europe. We aim to connect the diverse stakeholders involved in forest management (e.g. local authorities, fire fighters, foresters, land managers and owners) with researchers from several fields, as biology, geography, ecology, sociology, meteorology, climatology, engineery, soil scientists, physicists among others. It is important to transfer knowledge among the participants and learning from the experiences from all the participants about the use of prescribed fire for land management.
The organizers have a strong experience in the use of prescribed fire for landscape management. Since 1999 we are working in this topic, and with the experience, we are finding the best time and areas where prescribed fire is an efficient technique for landscape management. The time of application, land use type, vegetation history and soil type appear to be important factors that control the impacts of prescribed fires on soil and vegetation. This knowledge was only possible to get due a strong collaboration between managers, authorities and researchers.
We believe that it is increasingly accepted the use of fire for management proposes, but often with some reservations. The congress may serve to dispel doubts, show new areas for research, facilitate the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary communication between researchers, create synergies between science and stakeholders, knowledge transfer and go beyond the knowledge, building bridges among all the participants with the objective of create the first international network about prescribed fires. The conference is an opportunity to meet experts and managers from all the world, as we have already in the program.
It is true that prescribed fire is not still used in all the countries. United States, Canada, Australia, and many countries in Europe (e.g Portugal and Spain) have already implemented in their forest management plans. But still is in discussion in many others. This reluctance in the application of this technique is related to social pressure, as consequence of the negative impacts, as smoke and potential loss of goods and lives. The congress will also discuss this aspect and try to understand the stakeholder and public perception about the fire and their use for landscape management. Social perception about fire is fundamental to understand were research should go and what information is urgent to know.
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