Annual EFICENT Forest Management Study Tour: Central Alpine Fire Regimes in Switzerland


From 2-5 October 2012 the Annual EFICENT Forest Management Study Tour led a group of 15 participants to Switzerland and Italy. 

Unusually high fire activity all along the Pyrenees throughout 2012 recently raised the interest in fire management challenges in and around mountain forests in Spain. On the other hand, the dry central alpine valleys of Valais and Aoste in Switzerland and Italy have also repeatedly seen forest fires with a significant impact on protective functions of forests. Therefore, EFICENT, WSL and the Pau Costa Foundation jointly organized a study tour with 15 representatives from Regional Governments in the Spanish Pyrenees (Catalonia, Aragon and Navarra) as well as from the University of Lleida, to exchange views and experiences with colleagues from research and practice in Switzerland where efforts to mitigate fire effects like erosion, mud slides and avalanches play an overly important role in risk management. Extensive amounts of budget have to be spent in Switzerland when protection forest is burned and slow post-fire tree establishment is adding to the safety problem. 

The burn area of 2011 near Visp  The main topics discussed in this study tour included post-fire succession and dynamics, response strategies and tactics, weather patterns and fire spread patterns, mitigation and prevention options in sensitive mountain forest ecosystems under climate change scenarios, and post-fire restoration measures. Local organization of the tour was provided by WSL (Marco Conedera and Tom Wohlgemuth).


Forest fire of March 2011 above the town of Visp, 120 ha.
  • Forest fire 2003, Leuk
  • Study species