A need for fire-smart landscape governance to reduce wildfire risks

A need for fire-smart landscape governance to reduce wildfire risks

General - 24 May, 2023

The co-creation of locally owned solutions through a fire-smart landscape governance is a viable answer to reduce wildfire risk for more sustainable use of forests and trees in climate smart landscapes. With this message, Tropenbos International participated during the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference in Porto, Portugal from 15-19 of May.

The 8th International Wildland Fire Conference had the participation of over 1200 people from all around the world. Tropenbos International presented the experiences from the fire-smart landscape governance programme through various oral and poster presentations, a workshop, and a booth.

Tropenbos International hosted the workshop “Improving fire management in the Tropics using Inclusive Landscape Approaches.” The session was hosted by Humberto Gómez (Tropenbos International) and Johann Georg Goldammer (Global Fire Monitoring Center). Johann Georg Goldammer opened the session with a general reflection on the need for future fire governance strategies.

“We live in highly fragmented landscapes, both ecologically, socially, and economically. Wildfires cross all these boundaries. If we are to create fire-smart landscapes, that fragmentation needs to be tackled effectively. We have to break those silos” Johann Georg Goldammer

After the opening, the landscape approach to reduce wildfire risks was presented and discussed through a series of brief presentations showcasing experiences in Bolivia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Indonesia. The approach uses local and scientific knowledge, evidence-based dialogue, collaborative learning and collective action involving different stakeholders in the landscape, including communities, local authorities, and private actors from multiple sectors to jointly find solutions for effective dealing with fires.

We don’t want to eliminate fire from the landscapes. Indigenous communities have used it for centuries as a landscape management tool and will continue to use it. What we want is to live better with fires, decreasing the risk of turning into wildfires” Richard Ssemmanda (Ecological Trends Alliance).

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At the end of the session, Tropenbos International launched the latest Tropical Forest Issues, ‘Towards fire-smart landscapes’ focussing on fire management across the tropics, showcasing experiences of landscape fire management in over 15 countries. The publication emphasizes the global opportunity to learn from fire management experiences in the tropics.

Through the various poster presentations and two plenary sessions the approach, experiences, and lessons were widely shared. At the booth attendees were able to learn more about the programme and discuss with the different colleagues present.

Read and download the posters:

On the last day of the conference the ‘Landscape Fire Governance Framework’ was presented. The framework recognizes the importance of governance within fire management and wildfire risk reduction globally, shifting the focus to fire prevention rather than suppression. It is based in a strong stakeholder engagement and improved, equitable governance. A regional collaboration to contextualize the framework to regional and local realities is needed. Tropenbos International and its partners can contribute to the framework implementation as its principles align with the aims of the fire-smart landscape governance programme.