Climate Change and Forest Fires in the Ave Region (NW of Portugal)

António Bento-Gonçalves, António Vieira, Flora Ferreira-Leite, Paula Alexandra Malta, Luís da Vinha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is a wide array of studies and evidence that climate is changing and these changes will manifest themselves very differently in various areas of the planet. The weather conditions that occur in Portugal, especially during the summer, are favorable to the occurrence of forest fires. However, the ignition and spread of a fire depends on the interaction of several factors besides the weather, namely the presence of fuel and rugged terrain. It is expected that fire regimes immediately respond to climate change, and may even outweigh the direct effects of global warming in the patterns of species distribution and productivity. The project ADAPTACLIMA - Adaptation to the effects from climate change (INTERREG SUDOE) was based on the preparation of a series of studies on forecasting and analyzing the vulnerabilities and potentialities in Southwest European territories, with the aim of creating a collaborative network of stable institutions. The purpose was to permit both the transmission of knowledge and exchange of experiences among members of the partnership, as well as mutual learning and co-generation of new knowledge. The fundamental task of the network was the preparation of a Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change in Space SUDOEto be implemented in the participating areas. Among the challenges facing SUDOE to mitigate climate change, two of them represent the strategic objectives of the project ADAPTACLIMA: on the one hand, to alert the populations of the SUDOE space to the real consequences of climate change; and, secondly, to promote and develop measures which help adapt society to future scenarios derived from these changes. In the northwest of Portugal and in particular in the Averegion, one of the main impacts expected from climate change is an increase in number and size of fires and their recurrence. In terms of plant species, those better adapted to fire will dominate, generating monospecific formations or small variations, wherein all the plant species are of the same age. Climate change may cause a substantial increase in the risk of fire. In addition, the period of fire occurrence will extend throughout the year, implying a larger fire-fighting organizational structure, which will maintain higher levels of alert for longer periods each year.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWoodlands
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Species Diversity and Sustainable Management
EditorsLazaro Manzanares
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Chapter3
Pages75-98
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781626181786
ISBN (Print)9781626181779
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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