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    Keywords:Forest resEU policyForest protectionForest monitoring

    oune established at regional and often national level, without major interaction amonge expansion of the European Union in the 1980s, when Mediterranean countries

    Forest Policy and Economics 29 (2013) 1925

    Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

    Forest Policy an

    j ourna l homepage: www.e lhave lived with re and used it in their agricultural and rural activities;res were used to improve soil condition and clear elds through strawburning and to clear areas for cattle raising for centuries. However, theincrease in population density in Europe, especially in the Mediterra-nean region, has led to an increased number of uncontrolled res.Two effects should be considered when analyzing the effects of popula-tion density with regard to the number of res. Increase in populationdensity during the peak of the re season leads to higher number ofignition sources, as often forest areas are used for recreation. However,abandonment of rural areas by the local population has decreased the

    in the European Mediterranean region is presented in Fig. 1.In this region, humans cause most of the res (over 95%). The

    highest percentage of these is linked to agricultural practices in therural areas (APAS, 2003). Uncontrolled res that reach a certain sizeare the main cause of environmental damages in southern Europe.Most of the damage is due to a small percentage of the total numberof res; approximately 75 to 80% of the total burnt area is the result ofres larger than 50 ha, which corresponds to a small fraction (in theorder of 2.6% for the period 1980 to 2006) of the total number ofres (San-Miguel-Ayanz and Camia, 2009).use of the forests and their products and hafuels, increasing re risk and the numbe

    This article belongs to the Special Issue: Fire Use PoSolving the Fire Paradox. Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 0332 786138

    fax: +39 0332 9803.E-mail address: (

    1389-9341/$ see front matter 2012 Elsevier B.V. All landscapes. Humans

    Currently, Europe suffers approximately 65,000 res every year,which burn, on average, half a million hectares of forested areas(European Commission, 2010). The trend of forest res and burnt areasFires are an integral component of Europ1. Introductionres in the natural areas of these countries. Initial EU policies related to res date back to the 1980s, in which theEuropean Union elaborated the rst voluntary Regulations to support the development of forest re informationsystems in the countries. Although EU environmental policies promoted the development of national systems, therst steps towards the development of a European re information system did not take place until the late 1990s.Such a system was initially discussed between the European Commission services and the Member States in1998. Although the development of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) started at this time, its of-cial establishment came only in place with the publication of the Forest Focus regulation in 2003, which includedwithin its implementation rules the reference to EFFIS. Since its establishment, EFFIS has inuenced the further de-velopment of EU environmental policies on forest protection. It has further shaped the link of these to other forestand regional policies, which, although not re-specic, did address the issue of damages caused by res to the Eu-ropean environment and its population. Thepresent article describes the steps in the development of the EUre pol-icies and EFFIS. It provides a synoptic view of how res are included in different sectoral policies of the EU, andsuggests ways in which the continuation of forest re monitoring and management may be included in future Eu-ropean policies.

    2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Accepted 15 August 2011Available online 20 August 2012were incorporated in the EU, the issue of forest res increased in relevance, mainly due to the damages caused byReceived 11 January 2011Received in revised form 5 July 2011

    effects. These initiatives wercountries in Europe. With thThe European Forest Fire Information Systof the European Union

    Jess San-Miguel-Ayanz a,, Ernst Schulte b, Guido Sca Institute for Environment and Sustainability, European Commission Joint Research Centreb Nature, Biodiversity & Land Use, Directorate General Environment European Commission

    a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history: Since themid-20th century, cs led to accumulation ofr of uncontrolled res.

    licies and Practices in Europe:

    (mob.), +39 3481411403;

    J. San-Miguel-Ayanz).

    rights the context of environmental policies

    uck a, Andrea Camia a

    Fermi, 1, Ispra I-21027, Italyenue de Beaulieu 5, 1160 Brussels, Belgium

    tries in Europe have been organized to record information on forest res and their

    d Economics

    sev ie r .com/ locate / fo rpo lThe issue of damages caused by forest res became evident in the1980s, when large re episodes occurred in southern Europe. Thisreality triggered the request of European Institutions, especially the Eu-ropean Parliament, for additional measures to be taken in relation toforestres (EuropeanParliament, 1983, 1989, 1991). However, an accu-rate knowledge of the number of res and their effects at the Europeanlevel required some level of harmonization of the information availablein the countries and its aggregation to the continental level

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    20 J. San-Miguel-Ayanz et al. / Forest Policy and Economics 29 (2013) 1925(San-Miguel-Ayanz et al. 2002, 2006). European-wide data on forestres was necessary to regulate its use in the rural environment and toestablish an information system that would support forest remanage-ment. This would help in providing guidelines for forest re preventionand re ghting when the nature of the res is such that threatens en-vironmental or human assets (Council Regulation, 1986, 1987, 1989a,1989b). First initiatives focused on collecting a basic set of informationon forest res at the European level. Data to be collected had necessarilyto be a subset of the information already collected by some of the mostaffected countries, as the Commission was only co-nancing the collec-tion of the data (Council Regulation, 1992). Additionally, measures to beimplemented at the European level should also encourage setting updata collection mechanisms in those countries in which information offorest was not yet collected, and the exchange of knowledge and bestpractices (Council Regulation, 1994).

    The administrative organization of the European Union and itscountries is not ideal to setting up standardized procedures for forestmonitoring, as Forestry is not part of the Common European UnionPolicy and therefore countries have no obligation to abide to anyEuropean legislation. Currently, the only general framework fordevelopment of measures related to forestry is the EU Forestry Strategy(Council Resolution, 1998). The European situation is quite diversewhen compared to territories of similar dimensions. Two aspects arekey for the development of policies and initiatives: rst, Europe ismade up of many countries with different languages, policies andadministrations related to the issue of forest res, and second, there isno Common legislation that permits a development of enforcedcommonmonitoring approaches. Nevertheless, the European countriesand the European Commission have worked together in the last20 years to set up common forest monitoring approaches, despite thefact that geographic differences and diverse interests in the re issuesamong European countries have slowed down this process.

    Fig. 1. Trend of forest res and burn2. First initiatives of the EU in relation to forest res

    The rst steps for the collection of harmonized information on forestres were established in the context of European Council Regulations of1992, and 1994 (Council Regulations, 1992 and 1994). Since res wereconsidered a threat for the environment and for the population,especially in the Mediterranean region, additional measures related toforest re prevention were established in the context of the EU ruraldevelopment policies (Council Regulation, 1999).

    In 1992 especial regulations were established to improve forestprotection against res and, subsequently, to establish forest reinformation systems in the countries through Regulation 2158/92(Council Regulation, 1992). This replaced previous regulations(Council Regulation, 1986, 1987, 1989a, 1989b) and focused on im-proved forest protection by rst reducing the number of forest reoutbreaks, and second by reducing the extent of burnt areas. Thenew regulation included the setting up or the improvement of forestre prevention measures (e.g. rebreaks) and the improvement offorest monitoring systems (e.g. xed or mobile monitoring facilities).Member States were asked to classify their territory according to thedegree of forest re risk; initially, the whole territory of Portugal,Spain, and Greece was considered as high re risk areas. Additionally,MS were also asked to determine areas at medium risk, being thosethe ones where re risk is not permanent or cyclical, but representsa threat to forest ecosystems and to send to the EC re protectionplans for the areas classied as high and medium risk.

    In relation to forest re information, the Reg. 2158/92mentioned thatcoordination andmonitoring activities should include assistance from theCommunity to helpMS set up forest re information systems. This wouldpromote exchange of information on forest res, the evaluation of mea-sures adopted by the MS and Commission to prevent them, and evalua-tion of the periods, degree and causes of re risk. The achievements ofthese objectives would ultimately lead to the


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