Regional South America Wildland Fire Management Network

A Region of the Global Wildland Fire Network


Regional Seminar on Integrated Fire Management in Tocantins

Gurupi, Tocantins, Brazil, 22-23 November 2016


At this seminar the results of the Project Cerrado Jalapao were presented, discussed and further steps agreed upon. A highlight of the seminar was opening of the Centro de Monitoramento Ambiental e Manejo do Fogo (Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management); Federal University of Tocantins, Center of Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.

Introduction 

The Cerrado is one of the largest biomes in the Western Hemisphere, covering more than 2 million km2. The biodiversity hotspot includes the headwaters of three major river basins and is thus of high importance of regional water security. With about 12,000 native species, including many that are endemic, the Cerrado is considered the biological richest tropical savannah region in the world. Besides, of its biodiversity value, the Cerrado has a great social importance. The Cerrado biodiversity is essential for the sustainable livelihoods of family farmers, traditional communities and indigenous groups, which are all part of Brazil’s historical and cultural heritage, and who number some 5 million people.

By 2010 about 47% of the Cerrado had already been converted for agriculture and livestock production. The remaining areas of natural vegetation are increasingly being fragmented and annual deforestation rates and related greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be higher in the Cerrado than in the Amazon. Beside the conversion of natural vegetation, uncontrolled late season fires are one of the major direct threats to the Cerrado and its providing ecosystem services. Although the savannah ecosystem and its species are highly adapted to fire, the increasing frequency of high intensity fires in the late dry season due to human interventions is negatively changing and impacting the dynamics of the Cerrado.

On the other side fire has been used in the Cerrado for millennia to prepare land for agricultural and pasture management purposes as well as for hunting, pest control and various other land management reasons. For rural people fire is a viable economic tool to attain land management objectives and local communities often have traditional knowledge on how to manage and prevent fire. In the past, fires set by local people have contributed to the creation and preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity across the Cerrado. Today, however, the balance between people, fire and the natural environment has been upset due to changing demographics, unsustainable land management practices and conflicting policies. In addition, the breakdown of traditional knowledge used in natural resource management as well as impractical no-burn policies and fire permit systems led to indiscriminate use of fire. In a changing environment and climate these fires increasingly get out of control and are detrimental to ecological and economic assets in the Cerrado, also threatening rural livelihood opportunities.

The Cerrado Jalapão Project  

One of the initiatives being implemented to preserve the Cerrado ecosystems as a globally significant carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot is the Brazilian-German Cooperation Project “Prevention, Control and Monitoring of Fires in the Cerrado”. The project is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment (MMA). Executing partners are the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA –Prevfogo), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), as well as the Department of Environment and Water Resources (Semarh), the Nature Conservation Agency (Naturatins) and the Department of Agriculture (Ruraltins) of the state of Tocantins. The project is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and provides technical cooperation through GIZ as well as financial cooperation through the Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW).

Since 2012, the project has been investigating in Integrated Fire Management (IFM) strategies to manage and protect biodiversity in protected areas and enhance community livelihoods by supporting sustainable land management practices in the Brazilian Cerrado. IFM is a holistic approach that considers ecological, socio-cultural and technical aspects. Fire can be both beneficial and harmful, depending on how, where, when and why it is used. Besides providing benefits to the local communities, the concept of IFM presents a strategy for conservation of biodiversity and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

IFM approaches:

  • Fire Information and research analysis
  • Prevention and the use of fire
  • Preparation for pre-suppression and suppression
  • Suppression of fires and
  • Restoration of the affected areas

Therefore, IFM covers a variety of sub-topics and activities that consider environmental, social and economic aspects of various stakeholders, based on cooperation between a broad range of institutions to execute the technical, logistical, operational and social programs. The measures form part of Brazil’s National Action Plan on Climate Change and the inter-ministerial Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation and Wildfires in the Cerrado.

Approach and Objectives of Seminar

 The regional seminar about Integrated Fire Management, held at the University of Tocantins (UFT), will present on the results and lessons learnt of the Cerrado Jalapao Project. Experiences that were made over the last four years in developing an understanding of IFM and its implications for the management of protected areas and surrounding community livelihoods in the Cerrado, shall be presented and discussed. The seminar will be composed of a variety of presenters such as protected area managers from state and federal national parks, experts on remote sensing of mapping fire and forests from INPE, representatives of districts, rural agriculture sector, NGOs and communities. Various international experts will augment the discussions with contributions and insights into the world of IFM and related science.

The main objectives of the seminar were:

  • To present on the results of the Project Cerrado Jalapão in the various thematic areas of integrated fire management, the different ways of the use of fire, considering the territory of action
  • To promote the exchange of national and international experiences on integrated fire and community based fire management in order to improve national and regional strategies

Specific outputs of the Seminar included:

  • Expansion and sharing of the conceptual and practical insight of what Integrated Fire Management is all about, with emphasis on community based fire management
  • Evaluation of the progress, limitations and gaps for the application of IFM in Tocantins with the contribution of international experts

Web links (as of 1 December 2016):

Photographic impressions:

Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.

Involvement of institution and agencies of the State of Tocantins and its capital Gurupi revealed a high interest, engagement and advances made in bringing principles of Integrated Fire Management (IFM) to practice. In the frame of the Regional Seminar the Secretary for Environment of the State of Tocantins Opening of the Centro de Monitoramento Ambiental e Manejo do Fogo (Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management) with ceremonies of ribbon-cutting and a night performance of humans detecting fire.

More photos:

Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.Photo: Center for Environmental Monitoring and Fire Management.


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