Research on forest protection started at the beginning of the 70’s. Until recently, this research has been focused on the forest species diseases and pests –as well as mycorrhizae and fungi. Besides, research on the forest fires area started in the second half of the above-mentioned decade. In Spain, the CIF was a pioneer in constantly providing resources for that investigation. At the beginning, fire effects on soil erosion as well as regeneration of forest vegetation were addressed. Later, also prescribed fire techniques and other forest fuels preventive treatments were tackled. Fire behaviour research and its impact in woodlands and soil –as well as burned forest areas rehabilitation and restoration, were also attended. More recently, the use of forest biomass as an energy source has been evaluated.
It must be noticed that this department has been closely collaborating with other –both national and international (EU & USA), research teams since its creation. This collaboration has its starting point in a bilateral project with the USDA Forest Service (1985-1989). Until now, this department has participated in and/or coordinated 16 different European research programmes projects and concerted actions. Nowadays, there is a mixed research unit ‘INIA-Xunta’ formed by Fire Investigators from the Spanish ‘National Institute of Agricultural Research’ as well as from this department. The effort made to transfer the results through numerous courses, workshops and seminars –with technicians from the Forest Fire, the Phytopathology and the Fungi research areas, must be pointed out.
FIRE BEHAVIOUR AND PREVENTIVE TREATMENTS OF FOREST FUELS
- Improvement of our fire behaviour predictive capacity to increase fire-fighters safety and extinguishing media effectiveness.
- Increase of the forest biomass preventive management efficiency and sustainability.
- Quantification of the forest mass risk and vulnerability to high-intensity fires within the Adapting to Climate Change Framework.
FOREST BIOMASS AND ITS USE FOR ENERGY PURPOSES
- Forest biomass inventory and mapping (by using LIDAR, satellite information, UAVs, etc.).
- Improvement of the forest fuels utilisation processes for energy source purposes.
FOREST FIRE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, URGENT REHABILITATION AND RESTORATION OF BURNED AREAS
- Development of operational tools to determine fire severity and to select the priority areas for post-fire procedures.
- Increase the efficiency of the urgent-rehabilitation techniques in burned areas. The aim is to limit the erosion and improve the exploitation systems of burnt wood.
- Accelerate burned forest areas restoration through silvicultural treatments that increase their resilience against future fires.