International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Forest fuel management for wildfire prevention in Spain: a quantitative SWOT analysis

Eva Marino A , Carmen Hernando A D , Rosa Planelles B , Javier Madrigal A , Mercedes Guijarro A and Ana Sebastián C

A INIA, Forest Research Centre, Department of Silviculture and Forest Management, Carretera de La Coruña km 7.5, E-28040 Madrid, Spain.

B EIMFOR S.L., C/Berlín 4, oficina 3, E-28224 Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid), Spain.

C GMV Aerospace S.A. Juan de Herrera number 17, E-47151 Boecillo (Valladolid), Spain.

D Corresponding author. Email: lara@inia.es

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(3) 373-384 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF12203
Submitted: 28 November 2012  Accepted: 10 September 2013   Published: 7 March 2014

Abstract

Spain is one of the Mediterranean countries most severely affected by wildfires during the last 30 years, despite enhanced fire suppression efforts. At present, forest area is increasing more in Spain than in any other European country, and also has one of the highest densities of fire ignitions. However, forest management plans have been developed for only 13% of Spanish forest areas. The objective of the present study was to assess the role of forest fuel management for wildfire prevention in Spain. Different fuel management techniques, including mechanical treatments, prescribed burning and controlled grazing, were considered. A quantitative SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis was performed, based on a thorough documentation review and on the opinions of forest fire experts. Results enabled the identification of obstacles that hinder the implementation of effective fuel management, and suggested strategic recommendations to overcome them. New opportunities related to rural development activities (e.g. promotion of ‘FIRESMART’ products) would be highly relevant in fire-prone forest areas. These opportunities should provide additional funding for sustainable forest management and could foster fuel management activities that would directly involve and benefit rural populations.

Additional keywords: controlled grazing, FIRESMART, forest planning, prescribed burning, rural development.


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