The ”Fire For Life” international workshop on restoration burning and management of sunlit forested habitats was arranged in Lammi, Finland in April 2017 by the projects Light & Fire LIFE, from Finland, and LIFE Taiga, from Sweden.
The workshop showed that current practices and public opinion with respect to use of fire differ significantly between European countries. Fire has been a common tool for forestry in Sweden and Finland for centuries. Because of the long tradition, the use of prescribed fire in conservation area management is well-understood and accepted by the public. In contrast, legislation and negative public opinion limit the use of fire in e.g. the Baltic countries and Poland.
Successful examples from Sweden and Finland show that prescribed fire may be used as a safe and efficient tool to enhance biodiversity in Natura 2000 areas elsewhere. More intensive exchange of information is needed to enhance understanding on the importance and positive results gained by restoration burnings as well as to develop methodology further.
EU LIFE projects in Sweden and Finland, Life Taiga and Light & Fire LIFE, aim at increasing the quality of forest habitats in N2000 areas by controlled use of fire. As part of that work a workshop was organized to explore the best practices and tackling the practical and political challenges of restoration burnings in N2000 areas.
The program consisted of specific oral presentations describing the current state of restoration burning in participating countries as well as group works concentrating on best practices and biggest challenges when using fire in restoration. In addition to western taiga (9010), special attention was paid to requirements of improving ecological characteristics of esker forests (9060) that have recently been lifted as highly important habitats e.g. in red list assessments.
The event took place in Lammi Finland on 25 – 27th April 2017.
The meeting focused mainly on the boreal zone but participants from countries from other zones joined as well and highlighted Mediterranean, nemoral and boreonemoral issues and conditions.