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Optimising fuel treatment configurations in eucalyptus plantations in Portugal

30.09.2015 11:48

New research has been conducted on the better gearing of forest management planning in commercial eucalyptus plantations, with economic, ecological and fire prevention criteria.

The work was carried out by Ana Martín Ariza, recent MEDfOR graduate (Mediterranean Forestry and Natural Resources Management Masters Programme).



Optimal forest management encouraging fire resilience needs to be adapted to forest dynamics and site conditions (i.e. structure and composition). The study tackles a main limitation of the fire behaviour simulator FlamMap and Landscape Treatment Designer (LTD) software when identifying strategic project locations over period of 9 years (corresponding to 2015, 2018, 2021 and 2024). This is indeed an insight into real-life problems met in forest planning.

The methodology is organised in a three-step approach for each temporal stage. Firstly, a eucalyptus growth and yield model with a dynamic fuel model predict stand conditions over time. Then, FlamMap 5 simulates fire behaviour for severe weather scenario. Finally, fire potentials metrics are embedded into the LDT, obtaining optimal treatment locations for each temporal stage and for the case of two for different treatment intensities in Serra do Socorro (Central Portugal). Taking into account wood supply and demands of carbon values, and for the case of 70 hectares intensity treatment level, the spatial distributions over time of fuel treatment units are mapped in Figure 1.

This study intends to support fire and forest management of eucalyptus farms, selecting priority intervention areas and designing successful strategies to increase operational effectiveness. The planning methodology might help forest owners and other stakeholders to solve conflicts. The time-investing strategies provided in this work present a methodological innovation for an optimal fuel prevention management. This methodology can be easily implemented in operational planning decision making and helps efficient forest management when answering spatial and temporal questions such as where to treat? How much? Shape and size?


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