EFI : European Forest Institute
Le réseau pour la gestion durable des forêts cultivées.

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FORSEE : Indicateur évalué

Indicator 2.4.3: Area of shrubs and forest stands burnt in forest fires
Total area in Sousa Valley:
76706 ha

Forest area in Sousa Valley (2005):
29274,16 ha



This cost include:

1-Data analysis

Human resources: 20 €


Area burnt between 1980 and 2005 in the municipality of Paredes where the FORSEE plots are located


Source: O país em números, Versão 2, Instituto Nacional de Estatística, 2004

Area burnt between 1980 and 2005 in Sousa Valley


Source: O país em números, Versão 2, Instituto Nacional de Estatística, 2004


In Sousa Valley, the main agent causing significant damages in the forest species is an abiotic agent - forest fires. Between 1980 and 2002 the area of shrubs burnt was usually higher that the area of forest stands burnt. After 2002 it happens the opposite being the area of forest stands burnt higher that the area of shrubs.

Through the graphs above it is possible to see that in Sousa Valley and also in the municipality where the FORSEE plots are located, Paredes, the area of forest and shrubs burnt suffered a sharp increase in 2005.

Problems and Improvements

The decision of add this new indicator to the list of FORSEE indicators has to do with the following facts:

a)The health assessment is only done in living plots, giving no indication about the burnt areas;

b)Most of this area corresponds to intensive management of Eucalyptus stands and the burnt areas recovered by new plantations as well as the damaged trees removed from forests just after the forest fires;

c)The pine stands, where damages caused by forest fires are more visible are very scarce in Sousa Valley and more in the municipality of Paredes where the FORSEE plots where located. Then the observations are not enough to show the importance of these damages in forest stands.

FORSEE team concluded that in the region of North Portugal it is important to consider an indicator of this type. Other information to consider is the one about the risk of forests fires. This information can be found in the map of risk of forest fires from 2004 available at http://www.dgrf.min-agricultura.pt/v4/dgf/pub.php?ndx=856 (recovered in May, 2007).

For the municipalities of Sousa Valley the risk of forest fires is considered to vary from Mean (in the average) to High.

Remarks and conclusion

Given the gravity of forest fires in Portugal and as well as in Sousa Valley, it would be important to include this indicator in the list of FORSEE indicators. Other regions where this indicator is certainly also important are Portugal Centre and Galicia.

In Portuguese norm 4406 2003, the risk of fire is the first indicator considered by Criterion 2.

Risk of forest fires is an indicator considered by Criterion 2 of the Portuguese norm 4406 2003.

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