Capacity Building Workshop on Landscape Fire Management (LFM): Fostering Sustainable LFM in the Western Balkans


On September 19, 2023, the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC) organized an insightful Landscape Fire Management (LFM) capacity-building workshop in Berovo, North Macedonia. This event aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of Landscape Fire Management (LFM) and its various aspects covering climate change, adaptive landscape management and practical insights from field visits to burnt areas in the Maleshevo region. Furthermore, the participants learned about Swiss expertise in integrating landscape fire management for forest protection, emphasizing effective fire prevention strategies and a participatory approach.

Representatives from over 25 Programme partners attended the workshop, including the SDC/Embassy of Switzerland in North Macedonia, Country Partner Institutions (CPIs), from Banja Luka, Belgrade, Podgorica, Tirana (participating virtually), Sarajevo, Prishtina and Skopje, the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC), the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Farmahem, and Helvetas.

The day commenced with a deep dive into the pressing challenges of climate change and its implications for LFM. Mr. Nikola Nikolov unveiled strategies for enhancing climate change resilience in Western Balkan forests and landscapes. Vulnerability prediction and adaptation with mitigation were at the forefront, aligning with national climate commitments.

Furthermore, Mr. Johann G. Goldammer stressed the significance of adjusting landscape management for climate change. His presentation emphasized cross-sectoral approaches, rural community involvement, and the principles of landscape fire governance.

Jelena Markovic and Jürgen Blaser shared Swiss expertise on integrating wildfire risk management for forest management. Their presentation included a Swiss project focusing on integrated wildfire risk management for forest protection. They pointed out the fire prevention measures, marking a paradigm shift from fire suppression to proactive risk management and prevention. The session emphasized the importance of prevention in the battle against landscape fires.

Davide Ferriroli delved into the topic of wildfires sharing the Swiss experience from Ticino, Switzerland. Participants gained valuable insights into habitat recovery, wild ungulate habitat enhancement, close-to-nature forestry, biomass management, neophyte control, forest fuel knowledge improvement, etc.

Moreover, Katerina Atanasovska had a presentation on the landscape approach in relation to building fire-resilient ecosystems. Her presentation defined landscapes and underscored the importance of socio-ecological systems in shaping landscapes. A resilient landscape acknowledges the presence of fire and seeks to mitigate losses through effective management, community engagement, and recovery. The landscape approach was explored as a powerful tool for building fire-resilient ecosystems and the presentation delved into the 10 principles of the landscape approach.

The role of Early Warning Systems in preventing landscape fires, with a spotlight on the Macedonian Forest Fire Information System (MKFFIS), its functions, and its expansion to neighboring countries was presented by Trajce Jovanovski. His insights shed light on the significance of timely information in preventing landscape fires.

On the second day of the LFM Capacity Building event, the participants embarked on a field visit through the captivating landscapes of the Maleshevo region. The field visit included an exploration of periurban interfaces (landscapes where urban areas meet wilderness), visits to resilient forests, observations of post-fire restoration efforts, and prevention measures.

The field exposure session included visits to eight different locations of interest, with representatives from the PE National Forests providing insights into their experiences with forest fires, ongoing post-fire activities, and planned measures. During the field trip, participants examined the landscapes through the lens of LFM, emphasizing preventive measures and benefiting from shared Swiss experiences related to the Maleshevo situation. Furthermore, the day continued with a stimulating exercise, fostering collaborative problem-solving and practical insights into LFM.

The LFM capacity-building workshop blended theory with practice, equipping participants with LFM understanding and know-how that can be applied in their respective regions, contributing to a more fire-resilient future.

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