A sustainable landSCAPE plannig model for rural FIREs prevention

Cofinanciado por:
Project title | A sustainable landSCAPE plannig model for rural FIREs prevention
Project Code | PCIF/MOS/0046/2017
Main objective | Reforçar a Investigação, Desenvolvimento Tecnológico e a Inovação

Region of intervention | Alentejo

Beneficiary entity |
  • Universidade Técnica de Lisboa - Instituto Superior de Agronomia(líder)
  • Direção-Geral do Território(parceiro)
  • Instituto Superior Técnico(parceiro)
  • Minha Terra - Federação Portuguesa de Associações e Desenvolvimento Local(parceiro)
  • Município de Leiria(parceiro)
  • Município de Pampilhosa da Serra(parceiro)
  • Universidade de Évora(parceiro)
  • Universidade de Lisboa - Faculdade de Letras(parceiro)
  • Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro(parceiro)
  • Universidade Nova de Lisboa - Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias(parceiro)
  • Universidade Técnica de Lisboa - Faculdade de Arquitectura(parceiro)

Approval date | 05-07-2018
Start date | 01-03-2019
Date of the conclusion | 28-02-2022

Total eligible cost |
European Union financial support |
National/regional public financial support |


The overarching goal of this Project is to propose a landscape planning model that contributes to the prevention of rural fires, considering the ecological, economic and social sustainability of the landscape. In fact, some Portuguese landscapes are highly combustible due to the last four decades of inadequate policies. Despite the importance of spatial planning as a core component in the rural fires prevention, mentioned in the media and the political discourse, its definition and implementation are still to be accomplished.
The proposed project is based on the assumption that a paradigm shift in the land use is needed in favor of a lesser "fire-prone" and more sustainable model. Acknowledging the economic importance of the most fire-prone species, the aim is to create a landscape protection structure against rural fires that, without denying the economic importance that some more fuel species may have, ensures soil, water and biodiversity conservation and socio-economic viability. This structure will be adapted to each type of landscape. In addition to the proposal for a new land-use planning model, the economic evaluation of multifunctional agroforestry systems will be carried out.
Therefore, this project aims to integrate the sectoral themes in a land-use plan. Its main innovation lies in the transdisciplinarity that has not been usual, neither in the field of rural fires research, or in public and political discussion. In fact, most approaches focus on sectoral matters such as post-fire rehabilitation, fire behavior, vegetation characteristics, etc., rather than an integrative spatial planning proposal based on available sectoral knowledge.
The methodology elaborates a conceptual framework based on la ndscape ecology and fire behavior. The socio-economic and ecological parameters will be gathered to map landscape typologies and vulnerability to rural fires. These analyses will inform the model and the selection of case studies. For each case study a land-use plan will be developed, articulating the nature conservation (water, soil and biodiversity), commercial and family agriculture, forestry, grazing, rural and nature tourism and other activities that ensure the maintenance of the rural population. In parallel, it is intended to consider various types of land management, such as commercial forest stands, the use of natural regeneration, close to nature forestry, forest-fruit, etc. The range of case studies will include the region, the area of a municipality, a medium-sized holding and a smallholding area.
An economic assessment of agroforestry systems and a critical assessment of available funding modes (PDR 2020) will allow for the development of alternative proposals that will contribute to the transition from the current situation to the implementation of the proposed development model including a proposal for ecosystem services. The planning system as well as the legal framework for forest management will be analyzed. A statement of the ethics of the proposed intervention will contribute to the rationale of the proposal.
The core p roject team consisting of a permanent group of researchers based at LEAF/ISA/ULisbon, where coordination is located.
This team will bring together researchers across several research centers of University of Lisbon and other national institutions, and the Pau Costa Foundation with extensive knowledge on fire ecology and operational fire management at landscape level. The core team has extensive experience in Landscape/Land-Use Planning at various scales, both in urban and rural space. In particular, the last two projects, financed by the FCT PTDC/AUR-URB/102578/2008 - National Ecological Network - a proposal of mapping and policies and PTDC/AUR-URB/119340/2010 - Potential Land-Use Ecological Plan. Application to Portugal, produced data at the national level essential to an ecological-based planning. All this cartography was included in a spatial data infrastructure (http://epic-webgis-portugal.isa.ulisboa.pt/) that will be used as main input data of this project. It is also worth mentioning the participation in the project PTDC/GEO/65344/2006 - The social dimension of forest fires - Contribution to a Sustainable, Integrated Management.
Stakeholder p articipation will be present throughout the Project, through a group of researchers, public entities linked to Land-use planning, at national level (Directorate General of the Territory),and local (Municipalities), but also owners and the Portuguese Federation of Local Development Associations (MINHA TERRA).

Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results


O objectivo deste projecto é o de propor um modelo de ordenamento do espaço rural que contribua para a prevenção dos incêndios rurais, atendendo à sustentabilidade ecológica, económica e social da paisagem. De facto, algumas paisagens existentes em Portugal são altamente combustíveis devido às políticas seguidas ao longo das últimas quatro décadas. Embora a relevância do ordenamento do território para a prevenção dos incêndios rurais seja insistentemente referida no discurso político e nos media, a definição e orientações para uma paisagem menos vulnerável aos incêndios continuam por realizar.
O projecto proposto parte da convicção de que é indispensável alterar o paradigma de ocupação do t erritório existente para um outro modelo menos vulnerável (“combustível”) e mais sustentável. Pretende-se a criação de uma estrutura de protecção da paisagem contra os incêndios rurais que, sem negar a importância económica que algumas espécies mais combustíveis possam ter, assegure a conservação do solo, da água, da biodiversidade e a sua viabilidade socio-económica. Esta estrutura será adaptada a cada tipologia de paisagem. Para além da proposta de um novo modelo de ordenamento do território, far-se-à a avaliação económica dos sistemas agroflorestais multifuncionais.


The first step will be to create a group of stakeholders made up of researchers, owners, local development associations and municipalities (Task 1). The SCAPEFIRE expected results are:
i) Mapping of landscape typologies, relating vulnerability to rur al fires and its potential impacts e.g. runoff and soil loss (Task 2) based on ecological and socioeconomic variables. This data will allow the analysis of landscape´s vulnerability to fire and its potential impacts, allowing also prioritizing intervention areas.
ii) Developing a CONCEPTUAL MODEL of Land-use planning in t he perspective of rural fires prevention and landscape sustainability (Task 3) for each of the most representative landscape typologies (Task 2) based on available scientific knowledge and the results of the stakeholder’s discussions (Task 1). These conceptual models will be tools for dissemination of the project and public awareness (Task 3). 
iii) Developing LAND- USE PLANS for every case study (Task 4), with different scenarios supported by economic analysis (Task 5). These plans include specific landscape plans for the villages and contribute to update the land use plans in force and to support funding programs applications.
iv) Valuating ecosystem service s associated with multifunctional agro-forestry systems, towards an economic support of the proposed land-use plans (Task 5).
v) A dissertation on ethics of multi- level landscape intervention, with expert’s participation in order to complement the proposed intervention (Task 6)
vi) A report on a critic al analysis of the land-use and forestry plans in force as well as the financial programs, focusing in the insufficient articulation between them (Task 7). This report will include proposals for amendments that may prove necessary.
The team consist of researchers and stakeholders. Regarding the research team, the R&D unit LEAF/ISA/ULisboa holds the coordination (SBP and MRM) and a team expert in geographical information systems responsible for collection, analysis, manipulation GIS data storage, developing spatial tools and mapping. This team has also developed an online platform - EPIC
WebGIS with extensive georeferenced spatial data at a national scale, which will be database source for the SCAPEFIRE project. The R&D unit ICCAM of UÉvora will provide expertise related with Quercus suber and Quercus rotundifolia, as well as shrubs and grazing. R&D unit CITAB of UTAD will give expertise on Quercus robur, Quercus pyrenaica and Castanea sativa. The information about those species will concern physiology, specific ecology and economics. CIUD of ULisboa will participate in the Village Plans and definition of urban planning criteria. DGT is the responsible entity, at national level for landscape and land-use planning and, in addition to being an important stakeholder, will participate in the evaluation of plans and the definition of land use classes to be included in the National Cover Map (COS). IST will develop the economic analysis and provide technical support on informatics and WebGIS management. CEF of FLUL will develop the ethics task. Marc Castellnou of the Fundación de Ecología del Fuego y Gestión de Incendios Pau Costa Alcubierre will bring to the team the know-how in fire ecology and his work experience within different realities in Europe, United States and North Africa. SENSE of UNL will plan and organize the public participation of stakeholders, together with researchers and the public, through seminars to be organized.
The group of stakeholders consist of the above mentioned researchers and a lso land owners, local development associations MINHA TERRA and two municipalities Pampilhosa da Serra and Leiria.