GFMC: Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network

    Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network 


In the history of land-use in Eurasia fire has been an important element in forestry, agriculture and pastoralism. The use of fire has contributed to shape landscape patterns of high ecological and cultural diversity, e.g. heathlands, open grasslands, meadows, and swidden (shifting) agriculture sites. In the Nordic countries historic natural fires caused by lightning and burning practises have also significantly influenced the composition and structure of forest ecosystems. 

The rapid socio-economic changes in the past four decades led also to a change of land-use systems and landscape patterns, resulting in elimination of traditional burning practises. New air quality standards and the generally prevailing opinion by the government administrations that fire would damage ecosystem stability and biodiversity, led to imposing of fire bans in most European countries. 

It is now becoming evident that the abandonment of traditional land-use methods have resulted in the elimination of disturbances, which have characteristically shaped many valuable landscape types and ecosystems. Changing paradigms in ecology and nature conservation currently lead to the reconsideration of fire-exclusion policies in certain sectors of nature conservation, forestry and landscape management.

The use of prescribed fire for maintenance of structure and functioning of Calluna vulgaris heathlands on Brandenburg State (German Federal Forest Service District Lausitz, Zschornoer Heide Ranger Station) is one the first of an increasing number of projects that are underway in Germany in 2004. More details on research and development projects involving prescribed burning in nature conservation and landscape management are provided below. 
Photo: GFMC.

Objectives and Members of the Network

The Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network – formerly called European Fire in Nature Conservation Network – provides a platform and networking mechanism for those who actively apply or conduct research in prescribed burning for the purpose of nature conservation (biodiversity management, habitat management), landscape management and forestry. The region of interest is temperate-boreal Eurasia and the adjoining countries of Southeast Europe, Caucasus, Central and Northeast Asia. The network is closely associated with the EU FIRE PARADOX project, the EU LIFE project “Rohrhardsberg, Obere Elz und Wilde Gutach” and the EU Leonardo da Vinci EUROFIRE project and supports the advancement of the use of prescribed fire in Eurasia

This Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network is an initiative of the Fire Ecology Research Group / Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and aims to build up and gradually expand communication and networking mechanisms in which European Partners present their views and projects on research and development in

  • cultural and natural history and prehistory of fire
  • application of prescribed fire in nature conservation and landscape management
  • fire ecology

After an initial phase in 2000-2001 the idea of the European Fire in Nature Conservation Network was supported by the Symposium Fire Ecology and Fire Management held at the GFMC, December 2002. A first network member list has been developed which includes most of the projects in Germany and neighbour countries. Those actively involved in prescribed burning in the region and interested in networking are included in the following list:

This list is open for all those who are actively doing prescribed fire research and application. Those who wish to be included in the list (which is also a list for circulation of news) are kindly asked to contact the GFMC (address at the end of this page).

EFNCN Prescribed Burning Research and Development Projects
Short summaries of research and development projects conducted by EFNCN members provide project objectives, results, publications and visual impressions of the experimental or routine burns. Those projects that offer a website are also included in the website section further down on
this page.







United Kingdom


Background Information and Literature
Two review papers (in English), three papers in German and a bibliography provide some background information on the cultural fire history and fire ecology of Central-Northern Europe and the recent discussion on the use of prescribed fire in nature conservation and landscape management:

Background information on the use of prescribed burning outside of Europe is provided:

Upcoming Meetings / Archived Announcement of Meetings

  • Currently no meetings are planned

The following websites include information or activities on prescribed burning in nature conservation or on cultural fire history in the Baltic Region and associated countries:

Koli National Park – Swidden heritage alive (go to: slash-and-burn):

Fire Ecology Research Group (GFMC host) website in German:

Federal German Forest Service District Lausitz: Heathland Burning Project

Fire management in open landscapes of NW Germany – Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation:

R&D Project
“Sustainable Development of Xerothermic Slopes of the Middle Rhine Valley” (click on “Themenbereiche, Feuer”)

Prescribed Burning in the Highmoor Lowlands of Diepholz, NW Germany (click on “Kontrolliertes Brennen”)

Prescribed Fire and Heather Management in the Nature Reserve Westruper Heide (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Reutebrennen in Wolfach, Black Forest (go to: Archiv, then to Rüttebrennen 2002):

Forschungsverbund Offenland (Habitat management in military training areas in the pleistocenic lowland area of northeast Germany)

Feuereinsatz in der Landschaftspflege – Website des Ministeriums Laendlicher Raum, Baden Wuerttemberg (Fire in landscape management – website of the Ministry for Rural Space, Baden Wuerttemberg State, Germany)

Forum 2000 Feuer in the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
For obtaining information on the proceedings volume Feuer contact:

Prescribed burning required for forest certification (Chapter 6.4.4) – Swedish FSC Standard for Forest Certification:

United Kingdom
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Heather & Grass Burning Regulations and Code of Practice

Heathlands Europe, Network for any subject related to heathlands:

The Muirburn Code

 Prescribed burning on Moorland: Supplement to the Muirburn Code – A Guide to Best Practice

Fire management in NW Europe – FireBeaters:


The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Fire Regime and Condition Class (FRCC) Website

GFMC readers are encouraged to submit their project websites on the same topic to:

Fire Ecology Research Group / The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
c/o Freiburg University
Georges-Koehler-Allee 075
D – 79110 Freiburg


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