Managing Fire and Biodiversity in the Wildland-Urban Interface: A Role for Green Firebreaks
Department of Pest-management and Conservation, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand
School of Environment, University of Auckland, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Wakehurst Place, West Sussex RH17 6TN, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fire 2018, 1(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/fire1010003
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 20 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
In the wildland-urban interface, the imperative is often to protect life and property from destructive fires, while also conserving biodiversity. One potential tool for achieving this goal is the use of green firebreaks: strips of low flammability species planted at strategic locations to help reduce fire spread by slowing or stopping the fire front, extinguishing embers or blocking radiant heat. If comprised of native species, green firebreaks also have biodiversity benefits. Green firebreaks have been recommended for use throughout the world, including the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. However, despite this widespread endorsement, there has been little empirical testing of green firebreaks, particularly with field experiments. This knowledge gap needs addressing. Green firebreaks should be considered as part of the revegetation strategy following recent extensive wildfires in places such as New Zealand and Chile.