Dear IUFRO Working Party on Resource Data in the Tropics:
Below is IUFRO Spotlight #92. Other Spotlights can be found at:
IUFRO WP 4.02.01
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: IUFRO Headquarters <office(a)iufro.org>
Date: Tue, Jan 25, 2022 at 1:34 PM
Subject: IUFRO Spotlight #92 - Forests and Fire: Intersectionality of
Forests and People
To: Dear IUFRO Officeholder <mahoganyforthefuture(a)gmail.com>
[image: IUFRO Spotlight]
IUFRO Spotlight #92 - Forests and Fire: Intersectionality of Forests and
*IUFRO Spotlight* is an initiative of the International Union of Forest
Research Organizations. Its aim is to introduce, in a timely fashion,
significant findings in forest research from IUFRO officeholders and member
organizations to a worldwide network of decision makers, policy makers and
IUFRO will encapsulate, and distribute in plain language, brief, topical
and policy-relevant highlights of those findings, along with information on
where/how to access the full documents. The *IUFRO Spotlight* findings will
be distributed in a periodic series of emails as well as blog postings.
Forests and Fire: Intersectionality of Forests and People
PDF for download
[image: Photo showing forest fire. Photo by Balbina Soriano]
Photo by Balbina Soriano
Throughout the Americas wildfires are changing. Forests are experiencing
longer fire seasons, fires occurring outside of historic fire regions,
fires burning more land on average each year, and more extreme fire
behavior; some of which is attributed to a changing climate. Additionally,
we are seeing an increased frequency of wildfires in populated area,
impacting more homes and communities.
An IUFRO-sponsored panel discussion between scientists, practitioners and
decision-makers examined forests and wildfire research in the Americas.
Panelists noted that some of the wildfire management methods currently
employed have been overtaken by events – primarily climate change – and new
approaches and strategies that are more reflective of current conditions
must be developed.
The *Forests and Fire* online discussion was one of three science-policy
forums organized for IUFRO World Day. (The other two – *Forests and Water*
and *Forest-based Bioeconomy for All* – are covered in separate
Spotlights.) Forests and Fire was organized by the U.S. Forest Service and
Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Organization. Link to the
forums: Science & Policy | IUFRO World Day
The complexity and challenges of living with wildfire have been compounded
by climate change, the panelists said. Extreme drought, soaring
temperatures, smoke, changing precipitation patterns and declining river
levels in areas like the Pantanal in Brazil, are causing forest managers to
reassess the ways in which they predict, prepare for, and manage wildfire.
In North America many wildland ecosystems have a history of fire – but with
greatly varied patterns of fire frequency and type.
Now, as one of the panelists noted, effective firefighting is hampered as
it becomes more and more common for several geographic areas to be managing
large fires at one time. Fire management strategies, which traditionally
could rely heavily on resource sharing, are finding themselves scrambling
to find sufficient manpower as fires occur and move almost simultaneously
between areas and across borders.
Several panelists emphasized that increased and continuing investment in
advancing fire prediction models is needed to be effective going forward.
Those who are on the front lines fighting wildfires are finding that
conditions on the ground can be quite different from what the modelling
systems they rely on have predicted. The systems have been calibrated –
over decades – to factor in such aspects as temperature and drought under
normal weather conditions. But, as one of the forum panelists asked: "How
do you predict into the extreme?"
Understanding the ecological role of fire is also essential for balancing
the benefits and risks of alternative fire management strategies, the
Prescribed and cultural fires are important and cost-effective ways to help
manage forests. In addition to western science, traditional indigenous
knowledge should also be included in fire management techniques. But a
social licence for their use must be developed in the communities and
people must be taught to use them wisely and at the appropriate time.
And, as populations increase and cities expand, more people are moving into
outlying, more forested areas and are more vulnerable to the effects of
wildfire. More work should be done, the panelists indicated, to assist
those communities to learn how best to live safely with wildfire in those
In certain regions, education campaigns could also help communities
understand the best times of year to use fire to manage pastures and to
share fire prevention messages, the panelists said.
Also suggested was the need to improve predictions of how human-induced
land use will influence fire risk and to implement "red flags" when
pyro-cumulonimbus cloud formations develop over existing fires. Those
clouds can form their own weather systems, cause downwind lightning strikes
and spawn new fires.
Participants did note that a significant amount of collaboration across
countries and continents is already occurring. Countries are sharing
firefighting services, collaborating on fire research, and working on
various academic and community programs together to ensure knowledge and
expertise are shared. And, it was noted that IUFRO plays an important role
in this regard; convening experts and promoting global cooperation in
forest-related research through its international network of scientists.
The opening remarks for the forum were given by Dr. Monica Lear of the USDA
Forest Service and Dr. Erich Schaitza of Embrapa Florestas. The session was
moderated by Randy Moore, Chief of the USDA Forest Service.
*Panelists were: *
Yucundo Coutino Estrada, Chiapas State, Natural Resources and State Parks,
Aida R. Baldini Urrutia, Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), Chile;
Balbina Maria Araujo Soriano, Embrapa Pantanal;
Dr. Sarah McCaffrey, USDA Forest Service;
Dr. Dan Thompson, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada;
Dr. Frank Lake, USDA Forest Service;
Ross Smith, World Bank; and
Dr. Matt Jolly, USDA Forest Service.
*Review the session at: *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc7i67qNM84
IUFRO World Day was a *worldwide digital event that took place Sept. 28-29* in
three time zones around the world. It comprised 24 hours of forest-related
research topics, networking, and emerging issues of relevancy for global
policy makers. The event was designed to showcase the diversity of the
IUFRO network, including IUFRO's scientific units and IUFRO's member
organizations, to facilitate networking, and to enhance communication and
The World Day comprised 79 live sessions from IUFRO Units and Members –
including the three forums mentioned above – covering highly relevant
topics for policy makers as well as three central IUFRO sessions, one in
each time zone. *Over 3000 participants from more than 100 countries
registered for the event.* IUFRO: IUFRO World Day - Digital Forest Science
Forum 2021 / Events <https://www.iufro.org/events/iufro-world-day/>
*Note: Photos in this Spotlight issue have been kindly provided by the
Science-Policy session organizers.*
The findings reported in *IUFRO Spotlight* are submitted by IUFRO
officeholders and member organizations. IUFRO is pleased to highlight and
circulate these findings to a broad audience but, in doing so, acts only as
a conduit. The quality and accuracy of the reports are the responsibility
of the member organization and the authors.
Suggestions for reports and findings that could be promoted through *IUFRO
Spotlight* are encouraged. To be considered, reports should be fresh, have
policy implications and be applicable to more than one country. If you
would like to have a publication highlighted by Spotlight, contact: Gerda
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the
only worldwide organization devoted to forest research and related
sciences. Its members are research institutions, universities, and
individual scientists as well as decision-making authorities and other
stakeholders with a focus on forests and trees.
*IUFRO Spotlight #91, published in December 2021*
*by IUFRO Headquarters, Marxergasse 2, 1030 Vienna, Austria. Available for
download at: **https://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/
*Contact the editor at office(at)iufro.org
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