As one of projects of the Chinese ninth five years (1996-2000) plan of science and technology, the research project of firebreaks (fuelbreaks) got approved by the Chinese Science and Technology Committee in order to control wildfire better by nature. There are four priority aspects in this research project:
Selection of fire-preventing tree species: Fire-preventing tree species need to have the ability to regenerate by shoots after being damaged by fire, to reduce inflammability and fire spread due to high content of moisture, low content of resin and volatile oils, high content of oxide silica and other coarse ash contents. Methods for selection of fire-retarding tree species will be investigated in accordance with biogeographical differences and characteristics of tree species.
Mechanism of forested firebreak belts (fuelbreaks): It includes the mechanism of fuels under forest, trees and forest belt. Several ways to study the mechanism of firebreaks how to prevent wildfire spread include field investigation of vegetation in fire-affected areas, fire experiments and physical and chemical analysis.
Analysis of the beneficial impacts of firebreaks: It includes the benefit of preventing fire, the economic benefit of forest belts, the ecological benefit and the social benefit.
Put forward rules of firebreaks belts built: In order to guide firebreak construction scientifically and to make the best use of their advantages, technical standards are defined. This includes a classification of firebreaks and the design of size and density of firebreak networks.
Toward the end of 2010, various types of firebreaks will be established in the country. Once properly planted and maintained they will replace traditional fire suppression technologies. Forested firebreaks are advantageous for soil and water conservation and production of timber and non-wood forest products.
From: Shu Lifu Address: Research of Forest Fire Station Chinese Academy of Forestry P.O.Box 8 Beijing Yiheyuanhou 100091 Peoples Republic of China