1. Background and
Explanation of the IssueThe need to restore a landscape for its conser-vation objectives after ﬁre has impacted may appear to be clear and is often obvious. However, without an understanding of the causes of the ﬁre and its role in the ecosystem, then what is “clear” and “obvious” may be totally misunderstood.
1.1. Short Historical Account
Throughout history there have been large ﬁres that have damaged human assets and impinged on human perceptions. Some of these events have framed human response to ﬁre. They con-tinue to do so—Portugal, Spain, Los Angeles,
and eastern Australia in 2003 and the Great Borneo ﬁres of 1997–1998 are examples.
Fire is one of the oldest tools known to humans. It has been used as a management technique in land clearance and preparation for crops for centuries. For the thousands of farmers, ranchers, and plantation owners on the edge of the agriculture frontier pushing into forests, ﬁre is the obvious mechanism. It is nor-mally the least expensive and most effective way of clearing vegetation and of temporarily fertilising nutrient poor soils. In most cases the deliberate ﬁre use we see in developing nations is an echo of what occurred historically in what are now developed countries such as the north-east United States in the 1700s where ﬁre was used to clear forest and convert land to other uses, initially agriculture.
1.2. Short Introduction to Fire in
Fire is a prominent disturbance factor in most vegetation zones throughout the world, the most ubiquitous after human urban and agri-cultural activities.399In many ecosystems ﬁre is
a natural, essential, and ecologically signiﬁcant force, organising physical and biological attrib-utes, shaping landscape diversity, and inﬂuenc-ing the global carbon cycle. Fire has been part of the landscape since Mesozoic times. The combination of ﬁres and grasses helped create the savannahs and open plains and provided
Forest Landscape Restoration
Key Points to RetainThe ﬁre situation needs to be analysed as well as possible with available data to support decisions about restoration.
Identifying and engaging with those who light ﬁres, have ﬁre responsibilities, or are impacted by ﬁres is critical.
Protecting the restoration site from ﬁre until species being used can withstand ﬁre, if it is a natural disturbance, is essential.
opportunities for the proliferation of a wide range of grazing animals. For example, Aus-tralian vegetation has been subject to the inﬂu-ence of ﬁre, by indigenous (aboriginal) burning and then by the burning practices of European settlers,400over a wide range of environments.401
This pervasive ﬁre presence has inﬂuenced a transformation in Australia to the current ﬂora that are considered both ﬁre tolerant and also in many cases are ﬁre adapted requiring ﬁre for regeneration and life-cycle stages.402This same
story can be told for many ecosystems.
Forest ﬁres occur because of either anthro-pological or natural causes. Lightning is the most common natural cause of ﬁre. The major-ity of ﬁres around the globe are caused by human activity. The extent and timing of ﬁres differs between natural ignitions and ﬁres by people, those by people generally being smaller. While it is difﬁcult to compile precise ﬁgures, in the year 2000, a year that was not strongly associated with bad ﬁres, the European Community’s Global Burned Area Assessment Project identiﬁed 251,000,000 hectares of burn scars worldwide.403
In ﬁre-sensitive ecosystems ﬁre causes severe damage. One widely known example, tropical rainforest ecosystems, are characterised by high levels of humidity and moisture, they do not normally burn and are extremely prone to severe ﬁre damage when they do. Damage from ﬁre can be long lasting on a tropical forest ecosystem.404
Just as too much ﬁre can cause problems, so can too little. Many ﬁres in boreal forests are caused naturally by lightning. However, some countries, such as the United States, have had a policy of suppressing most ﬁres that threaten to grow out of control. Under these circumstances ﬁre suppression can lead to unnatural condi-tions in which forests, which have historically experienced small intermittent ﬁres, no longer burn. Fire suppression can lead to a buildup of dead biomass, and altered tree species’
compo-sition, so when a ﬁre does start, instead of being relatively small, it is much more intense and on a large scale. This conclusion seems to have been reinforced almost annually in the United States since 1986.
Understanding the reason ﬁre is introduced to or suppressed from a landscape is critical. Should the reason not be addressed, restoring the landscape will be difﬁcult and ultimately futile.
1.3. Brief Description of
Fire has played, and will continue to play, a major role in shaping ecosystems throughout the world. Fires can produce local extinctions of species, alter species’ composition and suc-cessional stages, and bring about substantial changes in ecosystem functioning (including soils and hydrology). In almost all forest ecosys-tems throughout the world, humans have altered the natural ﬁre regimes by changing the frequency and intensity of ﬁres. People have excluded or suppressed ﬁres and changed the nature of the landscape so that a naturally occurring ﬁre will not behave in the same way it would have done in the absence of human impact. The interrelationship between humans, ﬁre, and forests is a complex one and has been the subject of many studies and reports.405
In some ecosystems, however, ﬁre is an uncommon or even unnatural process that severely damages vegetation and can lead to long-term degradation. Such ﬁre-sensitive ecosystems, particularly in the tropics, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to ﬁre due to growing population, economic, and land-use pressures.406
In most developed nations the process of natural area loss and degradation has been slowed or reversed. Public responses to ﬁre, generally viewing ﬁre as negative and destruc-tive, have led to a focus on ﬁre suppression. This in its turn has had “profound effects on vege-tation patterns.”407
400 Singh et al, 1981.
401 Luke and McArthur, 1978. 402 Gill, 1981.
403 Joint Research Center of the European Commission,
404 Cochrane, 2002.
405 Jackson and Moore, 1998. 406 Goldammer, 2000.
1.4. The Fire Impact Cycle
The key variables of ﬁre regimes are the following:
• Season in which the ﬁre takes place • The extent and “patchiness” of the ﬁre • The ﬁre intensity—either too low or too high
can create both negative and positive effects • Fire frequency—too little time or too much
time between ﬁres can be negative
The cycle of ﬁre impact hinges around these regime characteristics. The impact of a ﬁre will be positive or negative depending on the degree to which the ﬁre conforms to a regime that the landscape can accommodate. Wrong season, too small or too large, too high or too low an intensity, and too often or not often enough and the cycle may become out of balance leading to negative impacts. If the cycle remains too far out of balance with the land-scape, then ﬁre may lead to a long-term alter-ation to the ecosystem.
These characteristics of ﬁre can create signif-icant impacts if they hinder the ecosystem’s capacity to absorb and harness their inﬂuence. So ﬁre may not be intrinsically positive or neg-ative but always has the potential to have a pro-found impact with potentially long-term effects. Fire is of speciﬁc concern where a particular landscape represents a signiﬁcant or unique ecosystem of global importance. Under such circumstances it becomes even more important to evaluate and manage the role of ﬁre to sustain those values.
Changes in the ﬁre regime that fall outside the capacity of the landscape to contain them will possibly inﬂuence a cycle of impact that, depending on perspective, will be considered either negative or positive.
1.5. The Questions of Restoration
1.5.1. Why and When Restoring?
The natural and human created role of ﬁres in landscapes sets up the context for decisions about restoring landscapes. The decisions need to be based very clearly on an understanding of
the role of ﬁre in a particular landscape. This in turn needs to be informed about the ﬁre presence in the landscape—How many? How often? How large? How intense? What season? Also, the cause of ﬁre in the landscape must be identiﬁed. Fires can be thought of as having the following characteristics:
• A source—the ignition means, such as light-ning, matches, metal striking rocks
• A cause—the agent that lit the ﬁre, such as farmer, tourist, or land-clearing contractor • A motivation—the reason the ﬁre was lit,
such as negligence, livelihood, or accident Armed with good knowledge of the ﬁre char-acteristics, the reasons underlying the origin of the ﬁre, and understanding the role of ﬁre in a particular landscape, the following restoration questions can be answered:
• Is restoration likely to be successful or useful?
• Can/should the same species be used for restoration?
• Will restoration have to be “staged,” with initial work creating the opportunities for later efforts?
1.5.2. Fire as a Natural Disturbance The need for restoration will rest on the extent to which the ﬁre regime is out of step with what the landscape can accommodate. Actions might include the following:
184.108.40.206. Controlling Fire to Bring It within the Regime that the Landscape can Absorb
• Reducing ignition sources • Managing fuels
• Suppressing ﬁres that do not meet the requirements for the landscape (a very difﬁ-cult decision to make408)
408 It is far easier to suppress all ﬁres than to make such a
decision. Human assets may be impacted, perceptions of the role of ﬁre in the landscape will differ, and hence the ﬁres that should or should not be suppressed will vary. Con-ﬂict is likely, particularly when damage is caused.
• Replanting with local species to overcome losses, which will normally have to include protecting the replanting from ﬁre that is inconsistent with the landscape ﬁre regime • Removing species that have been favoured
by inappropriate ﬁre or that have invaded, including the use of ﬁre in some cases • Undertaking physical works to protect,
restore, or limit the degradation of the land-scape features such as soil and drainage lines
220.127.116.11. Introducing Fire to Reestablish a Fire Regime Consistent with the Landscape
• Setting ﬁres under prescribed conditions con-sistent with the ﬁre regime
• Measuring and if necessary managing fuels • Suppressing ﬁres that do not meet the
requirements for the landscape
• Removing species that have been favoured by inappropriate ﬁre or that have invaded (including the use of ﬁre in some cases) • Undertaking physical works to protect,
restore or limit the degradation of the land-scape features such as soil, drainage lines.
1.5.3. Fire as a Degradation Factor Where ﬁre has no natural role in the landscape, then the steps are much clearer. Fire needs to be controlled to reduce its pressure on the land-scape. Removing ﬁre from a landscape entirely is generally impossible—accidents and very infrequently occurring combinations of factors will at some time create conditions that lead to ﬁres.
1.5.4. Fire Used as a Tool
Where ﬁre is being used as a tool in the land-scape there is ﬁrst a need to clearly establish the aspects of cause: ignition, source, and moti-vation. Depending on the insights developed there are likely to be a range of options for landscape restoration. If ﬁre is not impact-ing negatively on the landscape, there may be no need to deal with ﬁre and restoration to
meet other objectives can continue. Fire may also be used as an active tool to accelerate restoration.
In general there are very few efforts to restore landscapes after ﬁre anywhere in the world. Of the aspects of ﬁre management, two— prevention and restoration—are notably absent and apparently ignored in most jurisdic-tions. Much of the work that is done on burnt areas has apparently been simplistic in origin (to stop erosion) and implementation (drop-ping grass seed from aircraft). Consequently in the literature and documentation there is little carefully considered ﬁre-related restora-tion work described.
2.1. Attempting to Rehabilitate
Rainforests in East Kalimantan,
Following the severe ﬁres that burnt through Grand Park Bukit Soeharto in East Kaliman-tan in the 1980s and early 1990s, the timber concession companies that had responsibility for areas elsewhere in the province were required to rehabilitate the park. This has taken the form of narrow plantings of an intro-ducedAcaciaspecies and roadside signs identi-fying the company responsible for each section of the rehabilitation. While it has reestablished tree cover, the vegetation is introduced and does not resemble the forest removed or lost to the ﬁres in terms of species’ mix, structure, or habitat.
As part of GTZ’s Sustainable Forest Man-agement Project, which was operating at the time of the ﬁres, the following principles were developed for the rehabilitation of ﬁre-affected forests:
• Maintenance of the forest area
• Sustainable management of forest resources: Economically sound management targets should be deﬁned and agreed to by the con-cession’s stakeholders, giving consideration to the local conditions and forest functions.
Appropriate silvicultural treatments should be performed to reach these management targets.
• Ecological sustainability: Management tar-gets should be directed toward the type of forest that is native to the area. Silviculture activities should have minimal negative effects on the remaining stand and soil and should prioritise management of the residual stand, natural regeneration, and mixed plant-ing usplant-ing local species suitable to the site. • Forest protection: The forest is the foremost
asset so it must be protected from pests, disease, illegal logging, ﬁre and other disturbances.
• Community participation to increase com-munity welfare through beneﬁts from forest resources and support efforts to protect the forest
2.2. Restoration in Giant Forest—
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, California409
Development in giant forest in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks altered the veg-etation in several ways. Trees were cleared for buildings and parking lots, leaving distinct openings in the forest canopy. The forest overstorey was thinner because trees that threatened human safety and property were removed. Trampling and soil compaction reduced or eliminated the forest understorey, including grasses, wildﬂowers, shrubs, and tree seedlings. The soil seed bank, which inﬂuences the regenerative potential of the forest, was likely depleted. Small patches of wetland vege-tation were lost where ﬁll was placed over meadow edges or streams.
The disturbance caused by human develop-ment resembled that caused by natural, pre-scribed ﬁre killing patches of mature trees, creating openings, or gaps, in the canopy. These ﬁre-caused gaps were colonised by patches of abundant shrub and tree regeneration, particu-larly giant sequoia, with little regeneration beneath intact canopy.
Shrub and tree regeneration in ﬁre-caused gaps was mapped and the patterns of regener-ation were used as a model for restoring vege-tation in Giant Forest Village. The short-term goal of vegetation restoration in Giant Forest Village is to reproduce the species’ composi-tion, density, and spatial pattern of regeneration that would result from a natural ﬁre event. The long-term goal is to integrate the site into the natural ﬁre regime typical of surrounding areas of giant forest, re-creating the range of natural variability and then allowing natural processes to thin the vegetation.
2.3. Restoration After Fires in
Fires are part of the natural disturbances to which Mediterranean forests are adapted. Nevertheless, during the last decades the natural ﬁre regimes have been altered and increasingly there are large-scale, very intense, and frequent human-induced ﬁres. From expe-rience in Portugal, where in 2003 WWF and the local nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Associação de Defesa do Património de Mértola (ADPM), developed plans to restore forest landscapes that were devastated by ﬁres, a number of steps were taken:
• Geographical information system (GIS) assessment of soil degradation and hydro-logic erosion risk of the different landscape components
• The GIS assessment of the ﬁre incidence in the forest cover and mycorrhizal soil compo-nent in the mosaic of habitat types within the forest landscape
• Analysis of the socioeconomic impact, in-cluding forecasts in productivity loss and risk of abandonment of forest uses and rural exodus
• Planning the different technical options to be adopted within the landscape for preventing degradation and activating the natural recovery of burned areas, including burned vegetation management techniques;
409 Source: http://www.nps.gov/seki/snrm/gf/ecology/
410 This example was provided by Pedro Regato, WWF
it is preferable not to remove burned vegetation from the forest area, as it pro-vides protection to soil and to the natural regeneration.
• Active restoration in landscape areas with risk of soil erosion and little or no natural regeneration in the ﬁrst years. As much as possible, it would be preferable to pro-mote planting by combining root-sprouting species, such as evergreen oaks, small trees— strawberry tree, myrtle, mastic tree—with leguminous shrubs
• Management of sprouting trees, mainly oak species, through cutting operations to accel-erate the establishment of healthy coppice woodlands
• Clearance of ﬁre-prone monospeciﬁc shrub-lands, for example, rocky rose shrubs and plantation of scattered trees and shrubs, as well as pasture patches to increase plant diversity, accelerate succession, and reduce the risk of ﬁres
• Nonintervention in areas with low ﬁre impact where the natural regeneration has a good after-ﬁre response
• Reducing the risk of ﬁres recurring in the forest landscape
• Creation of natural ﬁrebreaks within the forest landscape, especially in areas where forest management options have simpliﬁed the landscape structure (see “Developing Firebreaks”).
• Restoring riparian forest vegetation in ravines and river networks
• Redesigning tree plantations where timber/ pulp commercial tree stands should be alter-nated with silvipastoral woodland stands— dominated by oak, ash, chestnuts, juniper, stone pine, etc.
• Restoring the economic and social potential of the burned forest landscape
• Activities should be participatory in order to understand and restore the economic and social values of burned forest landscapes • Restoration should be designed and planned
to reduce large-scale ﬁre risk and may imply the need for funding schemes, such as gov-ernmental subsidies or environmental serv-ices payments, to support the establishment
of natural and economically beneﬁcial ﬁre-breaks, and to diversify the existing land-use options in private and public land
2.4. Potential Adverse Impacts
Adverse impacts of restoration after ﬁres are most likely to result from the use of inappro-priate (exotic) species, physical restoration efforts that change or impact soils or drainage features, or replanting that alters the preferred mix of local species. In the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, wildﬁres burnt extensive areas in 2000. The amount of disturbance by both wildﬁres and fuel treatments before ﬁres combined with the use of exotic seed in mixes applied for erosion control are suggested as factors in establishing invasive species in the landscape.411Conditions that potentially favour
invasive species included increased light and nutrient levels, reduced plant competition, and exposed soil. In some sites, 2 years later, the ﬁre weeds had increased in density and were present on plots that had previously been free of invasive species. Knapweed (there are several species) had increased in relation to the severity of ﬁres—the more severe, the higher the density of this weed.There are cases of inva-sive species following wildﬁres that reduce the chance of native plant recovery identiﬁed in New Mexico in the United States.412
3. Outline of Tools
The major input required for framing restora-tion after ﬁres is strong insight into the ﬁres themselves. The facts, factors, and information that need to be gathered include those listed earlier. Collectively, ﬁre-related data, identiﬁca-tion of the ﬁre regime, and clarity about cause (ignition, source of ﬁre, motivation for ﬁre) provide a solid foundation for dealing with the ﬁres and then restoring the landscape if it proves possible and desirable. For developing nations, ﬁre is often perceived as part of that
411 Sutherland, 2003. 412 Hunter et al, 2003.
development. Consequently analysis of liveli-hood requirements and sectoral use of ﬁre in economic development is needed.
Analysing ﬁres is essential and relatively straightforward if the data and information are available. The key information is simple and the focus is on the motivation for the ﬁres—dealing with this is essential to identify the restoration strategy required and its components. Though there is no documented “formal” or “system-atic” process for the analysis of ﬁres, the process basically involves obtaining answers to a series of questions:
When did the ﬁre start? Where did the ﬁre start? When did the ﬁre ﬁnish? How large is the area burnt? What ignited the ﬁre? Why was the ﬁre started? Where are the ﬁres likely to be?
What time of year/season are ﬁres likely to occur?
Who manages and inﬂuences land— communities, forest agencies, concession-aires, ministry of agriculture, ministry of transmigration, provincial and district leadership, others?
Who is impacted—people, transport sector, tourism sector, health sector, agricultural sector, manufacturing industry?
Who can assist with ﬁres—ﬁre services, com-munities, forest agencies, concessionaires, ministry of agriculture, ministry of trans-migration, provincial and district leader-ship?
For those identiﬁed above: What role do they play? What is their motivation? Why should they be involved?
Who is responsible and should ﬁght the ﬁre? Who is affected and will need/want to ﬁght
Who is responsible for ﬁres that cause damage?
Who is impacted by ﬁres?
Who should pay or undertake recovery?
For the landscape:
What is the ideal landscape state, given the inﬂuences of ﬁres and people?
Is there an ecological role for ﬁre in the landscape?
Should/must ﬁre have a role in the landscape?
By collating the answers to these questions as far as possible (informed guesses are some-times the only information available), the ﬁre “picture” can be framed.
Once the ﬁre situation is understood, then decisions about restoration strategies and techniques can be made. If the ﬁres are going to be repeated, then restoration itself may not be successful or require ﬁre management to ensure restored areas are not burnt at all, not burnt before they can be, or are ready to be burnt.
4. Future Needs
There is increasing recognition of the often strong capacity communities have in ﬁre man-agement. Their reasons, skills, and understand-ing can be highly developed and should be harnessed. The community/local understanding of ﬁre and its role as well as techniques for using ﬁre should be the basis for improving ﬁre management. Expanding the recognition of community-based ﬁre management (CBFiM) and the core role people play through using ﬁre in the landscape is essential in the context of nations where government structures and approaches are developing and resources and support may be limiting.
As discussed earlier it is critical to obtain, maintain, or initiate records of unwanted ﬁres, ﬁre use, and ﬁre behaviour to enable analysis to support the reﬁnement of techniques of delib-erate ﬁre use and targeting of information and inputs to reduce unwanted impacts of ﬁres.
Bond, W.J., and van Wilgen, B.W. 1996. Fire and Plants. Chapman & Hall, London.
Cochrane, M.A. 2002. Spreading like wildﬁre— tropical forest ﬁres in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prevention, assessment and early warning. UNEP, Regional Ofﬁce for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico.
Gill, A.M. 1981. Adaptive responses of Australian vascular plant species to ﬁres. In: Gill, A.M., Groves, R.H., and Noble, I.R., eds. Fire and the Australian Biota. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.
Goldammer, J. 2000. Global Fire Issues. In: Saile, P., Stehling, H., and von der Heyde, B., eds. WALD-INFO 26. Special Issue—Forest Fire Management
in Technical Co-operation. Gesellschaft für
Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). Eschborn, Germany.
Hunter, M.E., Omi, P.N., Martinson, E.J., Chong, G.W., Kalkhan, M.A., and Stohlgren, T.J. 2003. Effects of fuel treatments, post-ﬁre rehabilitation treatments and wildﬁre on establishment of inva-sive species. Second International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management congress and Fifth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology, Orlando, Florida, 16–20 November.
Jackson, W.J., and Moore, P.F. 1998. The role of indigenous use of ﬁre in forest management and conservation. International Seminar on Cultivat-ing Forests: Alternative Forest Management Prac-tices and Techniques for Community Forestry. Regional Community Forestry Training Center, Bangkok, Thailand.
Joint Research Center of the European Commission. 2002. Global Burnt Area 2000 (GBA2000) dataset: http://www.gvm.jrc.it/ﬁre/gba2000/.
Luke, R.H., and McArthur, A.G. 1978. Bushﬁres in Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Singh, G., Kershaw, A.P., and Clark, R. 1981. Quater-nary vegetation and ﬁre history in Australia. In: Gill, A.M., Groves, R.H., and Noble, I.R., eds. Fire and the Australian Biota. Australian Academy of Science, Canberra.
Sutherland, S. 2003. Wildﬁre and weeds in the north-ern Rockies. Second Intnorth-ernational Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management congress and Fifth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology. Orlando, Florida, 16–20 November.
US National Parks Service
http://www.nps.gov/ﬁre/ﬁre/ﬁreprogram.html. Global Fire Manitoring Centre
Bowman, M. 2003. Landscape analysis of aboriginal ﬁre management in Central Arnhem Land, North Australia. Second International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress, Orlando, Florida, 16–20 November.
Ganz, D., Fisher, R.J., and Moore, P.F. 2003. Further deﬁning community-based ﬁre management: criti-cal elements and rapid appraisal tools. Third Inter-national Wildland Fire Conference, October 6–8, Sydney, Australia.
Moore, P.F. 2001. Fires, community action and law enforcement in S.E. Asia. Paper prepared for the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance: World Bank East Asia Ministerial Conference, September 11–13, Denpasar, Indonesia.
Moore, P.F. 2001. Forest ﬁres in ASEAN: data, deﬁ-nitions and disaster? ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation, Workshop on Forest Fires: Its Impact on Biodiversity, Brunei Darus-salam, 20–23 March.
Moore, P.F., Ganz, D., Tan, L., Enters, T., and Durst, P.B., eds. 2002. Communities in ﬂames: proceedings of an international conference on community involvement in ﬁre management. FAO RAP Pub-lication 2002/25.
Petty, A., Banfai, D., Prior, L.D., and Lehmann, C. (2003) Introducing the Kakadu Landscape Change Project: a multidisciplinary assessment of 50 years of landscape change in the tropical Savannah Region of Northern Australia. Third International Wildland Fire Conference, October 6–8, Sydney, Australia.
Reeb, D., Moore, P.F., and Ganz, D. 2003. Five Case Studies of Community Based Fire Management. FAO Headquarters, Rome.