02 July 2018 - 04 July 2018
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria

Forest Fires Global Expert Workshop and Issue Paper

Wildfires are a major factor that deplete our forests and degrade the ecological services they provide. 

© Shutterstock | Ares Jonekson

© Shutterstock | Ares Jonekson

This workshop aims at increasing knowledge and awareness about the impacts of fire in a changing climate, and about effective response strategies and actions thus contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Recent wildfire seasons have been catastrophic. Damage from wildfires in the year 2017 in the United States was the costliest in the country’s history. In Portugal, 72 lives were lost to raging Eucalypt fires. In Brazil, September 2017 saw more forest fires than any other month on record. In the past years Indonesia has seen some of the worst forest fires in history, with dramatic consequences on people’s health from peat smoke. And the list of disasters does not stop here.

In several regions of the world, a warming climate has led to increase in the frequency and intensity of forest fires (Flannigan et al. 2013; Jolly et al. 2015), thereby depleting forests, degrading forest ecosystems and severely impairing their capacity to provide critical ecosystem goods and services that form the backbone of global development and poverty reduction strategies. Substantial and rapid shifts in wildfire activity are projected across vast parts of the globe and within all biomes, from rainforests to high-latitude tundras, through xerophytic to broadleaved forests.

Researchers Dmitry Shchepashchenko and Andrey Krasovskii from the Center for Landscape Resilience & Management (CLR), which is part of the Ecosystems Services and Management Program,  will be participating in the workshop and Issue Paper with two contributions. Dmitry Shchepashchenko will be contributing with their research on the topic  “Forest fires in Russia” and Andrey Krasovskii on “Modelling wildfires in Indonesia”.  

The results will be presented in an Issue Paper synthesizing latest research results and scientific knowledge about forest fires in all major biomes across the globe, the trends in terms of frequency and severity, the underlying causes and, in particular, the impact of climate change, the ecological and other consequences of forest fire on land degradation, livelihoods and wellbeing. It will present examples of restoring landscapes that have been degraded by frequent uncontrolled fires and will also identify limitations in current knowledge and outline potential future activities that increase the resilience of forest ecosystems and communities.

Text adapted from Workshop Background Note © IUFRO

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Last edited: 26 June 2018


Dmitry Shchepashchenko

Senior Research Scholar Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Senior Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Andrey Krasovskiy

Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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