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The human, social and environmental tragedies of extreme wildfires have captured international headlines over the past decade for good reason. Wildfires are increasing in intensity, frequency and scale of impact due to a complex interplay of factors, including climate change creating more favourable wildfire conditions.

There is a need for an effective fire management where stakeholders jointly manage the land ánd fire management. This can be achieved through fire-smart landscape governance for reducing wildfire risk where different approaches are understood, recognized, and applied and addressing multiple needs of different stakeholders, in particular: (i) collective learning; (ii) empowering communities, and; (iii) improving policies and practices.

On this page you will find links to publications, interview articles, news items and external resources, and more related to our work on fire-smart landscape governance. We will continue our work and share our findings through regular updates on this site. So, come back soon to find out more!

Visit also the page of our Fire-smart landscape governance programme

News and blogsShow more

Blog

Tackling the blaze — towards a more effective approach to reduce wildfire risks

In recent years, extensive wildfires, characterized by dark plumes of smoke that often stretch across national borders, have captured international headlines. So far, 2023 has proven particularly severe, with fires blazing across the Amazon basin, Canada, and Europe. These fires profoundly impact people's lives, endanger ecosystems, and release large amounts of greenhouse gases. Worryingly, their frequency and intensity are increasing. Here we answer four basic questions related to their causes and solutions, and the role different actors can play.

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News

Reducing wildfire risks and impacts in Bolivia

In Bolivia, IBIF has been working with stakeholders in the Guarayos landscape to develop fire management tools, early warning systems and fire brigades, as well as regulations that help prevent wildfires from occurring within and around the Guarayos Indigenous Territory. Their approach is starting to be recognized by other organizations and government agencies.

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News

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

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.

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News

Sharing experiences on reducing tropical wildfires by listening and learning from communities

‘There is a need of active involvement of indigenous and local communities (and their knowledge), local government, smallholders and other stakeholders in developing and implementing effective wildfire risk reduction strategies, policies and practices as extreme wildfires increase in numbers and intensity’. This is one of the main recommendations from the session ‘Fire-smart landscapes as a promising approach for effective adaptation and mitigation’ during the Global Landscape Forum Climate: Frontiers of Change in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheik.

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News

Tropical Forest Issues 61 - Towards fire-smart landscapes

Catastrophic wildfires across the globe have been grabbing headlines in recent years. A 2022 report from the United Nations Environment Programme indicates that wildfires are growing in frequency and intensity, and spreading in range, and predicts a 30% increase in the number of wildfires by 2050. Hotter and drier weather, next to changes in land use, are considered the main drivers. This stresses the importance of allocating more resources for preventing extreme wildfires occurring in the first place, alongside fire suppression after they have started.

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News

Preparing for a different approach to preventing fires in Indonesia

In Ketapang, Indonesia, fires keep recurring on drained peatlands, with devastating effects. Preventing them requires restoring water levels, but government officials, companies and farmers have long resisted this approach, fearing it would compromise the economy. In 2021, Tropenbos Indonesia managed to change their minds — a crucial first step towards structural fire prevention.

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VideosShow more

Video

Building fire-smart landscapes: a collective action approach to wildfire management

In recent years, extensive wildfires have captured international headlines. Concerningly, they are becoming more frequent and intense. 2023 has been particularly severe, with fires blazing across the Amazon basin, Canada, and Europe, and it looks like 2024 is on track to be just as bad, if not worse. These wildfires have a profound impact on people's lives and ecosystems in tropical countries, as well as releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases.

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Video

A landscape approach to fire management - Wildfire, a shared enemy in Uganda

In Uganda wildfires are a shared enemy and therefore a common entry point to bring all stakeholders towards a common vision: a wildfire management strategy that will help minimize the risks and impacts of wildfires.

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Video

A landscape approach to fire management – towards a fire-smart landscape in Ghana

In Ghana, approximately one-third of the high forest and transitional zones are susceptible to annual wildfires, causing significant damage to resources and livelihoods. Local communities often utilize fire in their daily activities for various purposes such as clearing land for agriculture, hunting, and charcoal production. Instead of changing practices when it comes to wildfires, we strongly believe in the importance of prevention and reducing the risks associated with them.

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Video

A landscape approach to fire management – Fire free peatland under shared governance in Indonesia

In the peatlands in Indonesia, efforts should be directed towards prevention measures that result in wildfire risk reduction. We believe a participatory and inclusive approach is the most effective fire prevention strategy.

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Video

A landscape approach to fire management - Improved governance to prevent forest fires in Bolivia

When it comes to wildfires we believe in the power of prevention and wildfire risk reduction. In Bolivia, instead of trying to eliminate fires completely, we focus on working with communities, businesses, and farmers to prevent and reduce the impact of wildfires on their livelihoods.

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Video

Fires-smart Landscape programme learning and exchange workshop in Ketapang, Indonesia

Wildfires are increasing in intensity, frequency and scale of impact and have become concern for countries around the world with severe impacts for people and forests.

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InterviewsShow more

Interview

“Agricultural firebreaks are proving to be a valuable tool in helping to reduce the risk of wildfires”

The high endemic biodiversity in Madagascar is being threatened by the increasing use of fire that is seeing whole landscapes being gradually transformed from closed forest to savannas. Here, Harifidy Rakoto Ratsimba of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Head of the Regional Eastern Africa Fire Management Research Center (REAFMRC) tells us what is being done, and the next steps needed to reduce the risk of wildfires and the threat to Malagasy forests.

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Interview

“To reduce peatland fires in Indonesia needs collaborative efforts… but this is really complicated”

Fires occur every year in Indonesia, during the logging of peat swamp forest, and for clearing land to be developed into industrial plantations, and to a smaller extent in non-peatland areas as part of the traditional practice of shifting cultivation. Here, Atiek Widayati of Tropenbos Indonesia, coordinator of the Indonesian wildfire component of the Working Landscapes programme tells what is being done, and the next steps needed to reduce the risk of wildfires in Indonesia.

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Interview

“Firefighters use water to control fires, but indigenous communities use fire to control fire”

In Venezuela, use of fire is a traditional practice by Indigenous peoples and firefighting agencies in savannas and cultivated areas. But due to the effects of climate change, fires are increasingly becoming out of control and more forests are being burned. Here, Bibiana Bilbao of Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela, and case study leader for indigenous fire management in the LANDMARC programme tells us what is being done, and the next steps needed to reduce the risk of wildfires in Venezuela.

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Interview

Looking for scapegoats in the Bolivian fire crisis - A conversation with Nataly Ascarrunz

In 2019 large parts of Bolivia have been burning. Fires started by farmers and cattle ranchers spread into natural areas, where they were hard to control. The fires caused widespread destruction, but banning the use of fire is not the solution, says Nataly Ascarrunz.

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Interview

Fighting forest fires in Indonesia starts with getting the data right - In conversation with Edi Purwanto

Forest fires have been wreaking havoc in large parts of Indonesia, most of them set deliberately to clear land for oil palm plantations. A recent government moratorium on expanding oil palm in forest areas could help preventing forest fires in the future, but the lack of accurate spatial data is a main barrier to implement the moratorium, says Edi Purwanto.

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