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Prescribed burning experiences in Italy: an integrated approach to prevent forest fires

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Author(s): Ascoli D | Catalanotti A | Valese E | Cabiddu S | Delogu G | Driussi M | Esposito A | Leone V | Lovreglio R | Marchi E | Mazzoleni S | Rutigliano FA | Strumia S | Bovio G

Journal: Forest@
ISSN 1824-0119

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 20;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Prescribed burning | Wildfire prevention | Habitat conservation | Grazing management | Fire professional training

ABSTRACT
Prescribed burning is used in many geographical areas for multiple and integrated objectives (wildfire prevention, habitat conservation, grazing management). In Europe the collaboration between researchers and fire professionals has brought to implement this technique over increasing areas (~104 ha year-1), effectively and efficiently. In Italy prescribed burning has not been much studied and it is rarely applied. A new interest is recently rising. Some Regions particularly threatened by wildfires have updated their legislation and set up procedures to authorize prescribed fire experiments and interventions. From 2004 to 2011 several scientific, operative and training experiences have been carried out at a regional level (Basilicata, Campania, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte, Sardegna, Toscana). The present paper aims to: (i) document and compare these regional programs; (ii) discuss their frameworks and limitations; (iii) provide information about objectives, prescriptions, methods and results. The study has involved Universities, Forest Corps, Civil Protection, Municipalities, Parks and professionals from Italy and other Countries. Interventions have regarded integrated objectives (fire hazard reduction; habitat conservation; forest and grazing management), and involved several vegetation types (broadleaved and conifer forests; Mediterranean and Continental shrublands; grasslands). Studies on fire behaviour and ecology have helped to set prescriptions for specific objectives and environments. Results have been transferred to professionals through training sessions. Several common elements are outlined: integrated objectives, multidisciplinary character, training and research products. Ecological questions, certification to the use of fire, communication to local communities and the proposal of new studies, are some of the issues outlined in the discussion. The present study is the first review at national level and we hope it will help to deepen the meaning and limitations of a technique which is an effective tool to prevent wildfires when integrated in the forest and land planning process.
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