Silva Mediterranea Working Group “Forest Fires”

Human-caused fires are the most important threat to forests and wooded areas of the Mediterranean Basin. Paradoxically, the fundamental cause of forest fires is linked to increased standards of living among the local populations. Far-reaching social and economic changes in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Basin have led to a transfer of population from the countryside to the cities, a considerable deceleration of the demographic growth, an abandonment of arable lands and a disinterest in the forest resource as a source of energy. This has resulted in the expansion of wooded areas, erosion of the financial value of the wooded lands, a loss of inhabitants with a sense of responsibility for the forest and, what is important, an increase in the amount of fuel. Regional cooperation in the Mediterranean Region must address the underlying causes of changing fire regimes and a more economic transnational use of fire management resources.


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