The challenge of applying governance and sustainable development to wildland fire management in Southern Europe



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Aguilar Fernández, Susana and Montiel, Cristina (2011) The challenge of applying governance and sustainable development to wildland fire management in Southern Europe. Journal of Forestry Research, 22 (4).

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This paper discusses participatory processes in wildland fire management (WFM). Participation is an essential element of both the European Sustainable Development (SD) Strategy and the White Paper on Governance. Governance and SD have thus become an interconnected challenge to be applied to WFM (as a sub-area in forest policy), amongst other policies. An overspread weakness in WFM is lack of real participation of stakeholders. Absence of (or deficient) participation can seriously impair contribution of this group to WFM in high-risk areas and runs counter governance and the SDS. Further, this weakness might prevent an efficient use of fire as a land management tool (prescribed burning, PB) and as a technique for fighting wildfire (suppression fire, SF). Even though these fire practices have been well known in many different places, they have been increasingly neglected or prohibited over time in Southern Europe. At present, forest and fire fighting administrations are turning their eyes back on them and analyzing the benefits of using fire in relation to preventive and suppressive actions. Therefore, participatory and diffusion mechanisms (the latter adopting the shape of national and international experts’ networks) are required in order to solve the socalled fire paradox: that is, the need to move from a one-dimensional perception of the negative impacts of fire to a more sophisticated one that also stresses its positive effects. Governance, based on broad social participation, and diffusion, through fire networks, are of utmost importance in order, first, to diminish long-standing suspicion amongst different interests as to the use of fire and, secondly, to diffuse best practices associated with PB and SF. Most importantly, the EU should exercise its environmental leadership so that these new fire practices and sustainable WFM are diffused across the international arena

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Governance, Sustainable development, Forestry policy, Wildfire management; social participation
Subjects:Social sciences > Political science > Regional government
Humanities > Geography > Regional geography
ID Code:29427
Deposited On:13 Apr 2015 09:31
Last Modified:13 Apr 2015 09:31

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