How to prevent forest fires in urbanization?

Center for Ecological Research and Forest Practices (CREAF), in collaboration with the Barcelona Provincial Council’s Municipal Technical Office for the Prevention of Forest Fires and Agricultural Development (OTPMIFDA), environmental protection strip against forest fires around city centers.

The guide recommends, among others, the types of vegetation that should be left in these protection strips and what to avoid (as they are highly flammable), trees that should be kept or cut down depending on their characteristics, and finally how erosion is. could be prevented. He also makes another important recommendation, repeating the cleaning process twice a year to keep the strip clear of new vegetation.

The strip should be a low-combustible area and should have a moderate layer of shrubbery.

What is environmental protection strip? It is a strip of land at least 25 meters wide. surrounds urbanizations and other population centers found woodland or within a radius of less than 500 meters. According to its functionality, the strip should be a non-combustible, low-combustible zone and middle bush layer, preventing the spread of fire in the crown, ensuring the safety of people and their property in possible situations. Forest fire. At the same time, these areas should make it difficult for a fire from an urban area to spread to the surrounding forests and become a major wildfire.

The order of development of a guard strip To create

Since 2015, both institutions have collaborated to examine the dynamics and maintenance of lanes that open around homes in urbanisations. from his hand Josep Maria Espelta, CREAF researcher, track how the opening of this area has had an ecological impact on the remaining vegetation and how soil erosion can be prevented. To carry out this monitoring, a permanent network of test sites has been established. 12 urbanization in the province of Barcelona.

Forests now take up more surface area than they did in the 20th century, which means a high risk of wildfires in forested areas.

Why do we need these strips? Forests they now take up more surface area than they did in the 20th century, which means a high risk of wildfires in areas surrounded by forests. And why is this? Basically two factors, in the first place leave the crop and decline in forest management due to the low profitability of forest products (other materials are used), and secondly, because most public housing expanded because people want to live in quiet areas intertwined with nature, among others. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and here is a comparison of two orthoimages of a Collserola fragment from 1956 and 2018 (ICGC).

Vegetation, pruning and erosion: How do we do it?

Species that should be kept in these areas are those that, on the one hand, keep their leaves green all year and have a higher water content, and on the other hand, have a compact structure, produce few fine residues and need more. warm up. burn. In turn, to ensure the success of the strip The presence of all these combustible species should be checked. What could they be? Those containing essential oils or volatile organic compounds such as lavender and lavender, or others such as steppe and heather.

Each species has a different response and it is necessary to know which ones grow more slowly.

Tree density in the strips should also be reduced. The rest will tend to grow until they cover the forest canopy again as they have more free space and more light, and this shading will help control the growth of the shrubs. Even if, each type of tree has a different answer and since the goal is minimal continuity between cups, Need to know which ones grow slower – like oak.

guard strip arikoforest

But Although the growth of these trees is slower, it does not stop. So much so that after a year, or at best two years later, values ‚Äč‚Äčabove the maximum thresholds have already been reached determined by the regulations and a new action needs to be taken in this area. In fact, if pruning is not done meticulously according to these criteria, after a short time – even if it is only six months – the bushes may already exceed the threshold set by law and a new operation is required.

And when the fringes are gone steep terrain, does the soil erode more? This is what our team asked and determined. signs of erosion in 80% of the strips, however, in 60% of cases this was only moderate erosion. The most significant losses were those in which the crowns of the trees covered less than 35% of the surface. Therefore, allowing crowns to occupy more than 50% of the land on steeply sloping plots helps to reduce the erosion of these areas. However, it is recommended to cut down the trees on the rivers and edges that may disturb the balance of the land.

Reference article:


Environment department contact

Source: Informacion


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