Nationwide Training Sessions for the Use of Prescribed Fire in Conservation by the German Federal Forest Service
Conducted in the German States Brandenburg, North Rhine Westphalia and Bavaria,
February March 2014
Military training ranges in Germany, some of them in use for more than a century, have been subjected to mechanical disturbances as consequence of movements of military vehicles and tanks, and the direct and indirect impacts of artillery shooting and bombing exercises, often associated with wildfires started by explosive ordnance. Since other land-use was largely banned in those military grounds the combination of disturbances with the absence of pesticides, fertilizers, agricultural crops or reforestation activities have resulted in the formation of open land ecosystems, in which natural succession was halted, often associated with an impoverished soil nutrient status. These training ranges provide habitats and refugia for endangered species and open land ecosystems. A total of 685,000 hectares of active and abandoned military exercise and shooting ranges in Germany have a high conservation value. Abandoned or reduced disturbances by military training have resulted in plant succession towards forest formation, resulting in losses of habitats for endangered species dependent on open-land ecosystems, notably the Calluna vulgaris heathlands. In some areas the desired effects of meanwhile abandoned military activities and wildfires are substituted by targeted grazing, mechanical treatment or prescribed fire.
In Germany the Federal Forest Service is responsible for managing many of the nature reserves that have been established on abandoned military terrain. In order to capacitate the personnel of the Federal Forest Service to conduct prescribed burning operations safely, effectively and efficiently the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) conducted three regional seminars and field training in February and March 2014.
Seminar and Training on the Use of Prescribed Fire in Conservation, for staff of the Federal German Forest Service, Region Eastern Germany; Federal Forest District Lausitz, Weisskeissel / Krauschwitz, Zschornoer Heide, Germany.
Seminar and Training on the Use of Prescribed Fire in Conservation, for staff of the Federal German Forest Service, Region Western Germany; Federal Forest District Rhein-Weser, Drover Heide, Germany.
Instructions to the future prescribed burning teams, fire, cattle and the group. Photos: Courtesy Federal Forest Service, Germany
Seminar and Training on the Use of Prescribed Fire in Conservation, for staff of the Federal German Forest Service, Region Southern Germany; Federal Forest District Hohenfels, Schmidmühlen, JMRC Training Range, Germany.
Impressions of the training of use of high-severity prescribed fire for controlling the spread of black thorn (Prunus spinosa). Photos: Courtesy Federal Forest Service, Germany
Video of all training sessions
The following video has been produced during the field training. It reflects both the seriousness as well as the joy of the seminars and field training: