In the Editorial of theprevious issue of International Forest Fire News (No. 24, April 2001) therationale and a short overview of the FAO Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2000had been presented. The report “FAO Global Forest Fire Assessment:1990-2000” of the FRA 2000, prepared for the FAO by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and Fire Management Applications (USA), has been finalised recently bythe FAO. The report summarises the results of questionnaires and contacts withcountries to obtain wildfire data and narrative information regarding the firesituation in the 1990s. The report is organised according to FAO’s sixgeographical regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North and Central Americaand South America. In-depth fire situation profiles or short overviews arepresented for 59 countries. Much of the information was either prepared by thecorrespondents of International Forest Fire News (IFFN), including the IFFNarchive, and the GFMC or taken from the IFFN archive.
If printed the firstglobal fire report would comprise of more than 530 pages. Thus FAO opted forpublication on CD ROM (available ca. September 2001) and additionally on the FAOWebsite. Since a large number of country profiles has been authored by IFFN/GFMCcorrespondents most of the full reports will be published in the IFFN issues 23to 26. The readers of IFFN are kindly reminded that all 72 IFFN forest firecountry notes that have been collected between 1990 and 2000 are accessible inthe GFMC archive on the Internet:
This IFFN issueprovides an AfricaFire Special, the second after IFFN No. 19 (September 1999). Besides themost recent updates from ten African countries a special focus is on the fireprogramme in Namibia. Dedicated reports cover (i) the Namibia-Finland ForestryProgramme, (ii) an evaluation of the Integrated Forest Fire Management Programme on Rural Livelihoods in East Caprivi Region, and (iii) the results ofthe Namibia Round Table on Fire thathas been conducted in Windhoek, 10-11 November 1999, with the support of theGFMC. The National Guidelines on Forest Fire Management in Namibia merit specialattention and are therefore provided in full length. The National Guidelineshave been developed by closely viewing at the ITTO Guidelineson Fire Management in Tropical Forests. The Namibian guidelines suggest toanalyse how and to what extent the ITTO guidelines are applicable to Namibia.
In the coming years thefire problems in Africa will deserve to receive more attention from by theinternational community. At present a large number of African countries has onlylimited capabilities in fire management and access to sources of information andtechnologies. During the recent years it has been observed that economicconstraints, unstable political conditions and wars, and often a lack of publicor governmental commitment have led to a decline of capabilities to proactivelyaddress fire problems both at the academic and management levels. On the otherhand, the African continent provides a wealth of experience of successfulintegration of people in community-based forest and fire management systems. Inaddition there is abundant expertise in the use of fire in ecosystem managementin Africa which unfortunately is missing appropriate application.
Recognising theshortcomings of information and proper fire management training in most ofSubsahara Africa the GFMC has received funding from the German government forcompiling a systematic approach to fire management south of the Sahara. The bookvolume Fire Management Handbook forSubsahara Africa, a joint effort of the GFMC and SILVA Forest Services,Bredasdorp (South Africa), is currently in its final production stage and willbe announced soon.
Freiburg, July 2001
Johann G. Goldammer
Anothermajor synthesis has been published this month. The Fire Group within the Global Observation of Forest Cover (GOFC) under the Committee ofEarth Observation Satellites (CEOS) has done its homework. A dedicated bookvolume Global and Regional Vegetation FireMonitoring from Space: Planning a Coordinated International Effortsynthesises and analyses the state of the art of remote sensing for operationaland scientific purposes, and for policy support. Information on that publicationis found at the end of this issue of IFFN. The contributions of the book wereinitially presented at a GOFC Fire Workshop held at the Joint Research Centre,Ispra, Italy. The volume is a contribution by the GOFC Forest Fire Monitoringand Mapping Implementation Team to the Interagency Task Force, Working Group on Wildland Fire of the UNInternational Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).