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A Choice-Modeling Approach to Inform Policies Aimed at Reducing Wildfire Hazard through the Promotion of Fuel Management by Forest Owners
Article

Understanding the Impact of Different Landscape-Level Fuel Management Strategies on Wildfire Hazard in Central Portugal

1
Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
2
Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas, Av. da República 16, 1050-191 Lisboa, Portugal
3
Centro de Investigação e de Tecnologias Agroambientais e Biológicas, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Quinta de Prados, 5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Víctor Resco de Dios
Forests 2021, 12(5), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050522
Received: 28 February 2021 / Revised: 17 April 2021 / Accepted: 18 April 2021 / Published: 23 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaging Land Owners to Reduce Wildfire Risk at Landscape Level)
The extreme 2017 fire season in Portugal led to widespread recognition of the need for a paradigm shift in forest and wildfire management. We focused our study on Alvares, a parish in central Portugal located in a fire-prone area, which had 60% of its area burned in 2017. We evaluated how different fuel treatment strategies may reduce wildfire hazard in Alvares through (i) a fuel break network with different extents corresponding to different levels of priority and (ii) random fuel treatments resulting from a potential increase in stand-level management intensity. To assess this, we developed a stochastic wildfire simulation system (FUNC-SIM) that integrates uncertainties in fuel distribution over the landscape. If the landscape remains unchanged, Alvares will have large burn probabilities in the north, northeast and center-east areas of the parish that are very often associated with high fireline intensities. The different fuel treatment scenarios decreased burned area between 12.1–31.2%, resulting from 1–4.6% increases in the annual treatment area and reduced the likelihood of wildfires larger than 5000 ha by 10–40%. On average, simulated burned area decreased 0.22% per each ha treated, and cost-effectiveness decreased with increasing area treated. Overall, both fuel treatment strategies effectively reduced wildfire hazard and should be part of a larger, holistic and integrated plan to reduce the vulnerability of the Alvares parish to wildfires. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire spread; modeling; stochastic; fuel breaks; forest management; uncertainty fire spread; modeling; stochastic; fuel breaks; forest management; uncertainty
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MDPI and ACS Style

Benali, A.; Sá, A.C.L.; Pinho, J.; Fernandes, P.M.; Pereira, J.M.C. Understanding the Impact of Different Landscape-Level Fuel Management Strategies on Wildfire Hazard in Central Portugal. Forests 2021, 12, 522. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050522

AMA Style

Benali A, Sá ACL, Pinho J, Fernandes PM, Pereira JMC. Understanding the Impact of Different Landscape-Level Fuel Management Strategies on Wildfire Hazard in Central Portugal. Forests. 2021; 12(5):522. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050522

Chicago/Turabian Style

Benali, Akli, Ana C.L. Sá, João Pinho, Paulo M. Fernandes, and José M.C. Pereira 2021. "Understanding the Impact of Different Landscape-Level Fuel Management Strategies on Wildfire Hazard in Central Portugal" Forests 12, no. 5: 522. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050522

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