European Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 527–542 | Cite as

Coupling fire behaviour modelling and stand characteristics to assess and mitigate fire hazard in a maritime pine landscape in Portugal

  • B. BotequimEmail author
  • P. M. Fernandes
  • J. Garcia-Gonzalo
  • A. Silva
  • J. G. Borges
Original Paper


Silvicultural models are often developed and applied without due consideration of fire modelling. Yet, this information is important for designing treatment options to lower fire hazard. We used the FlamMap software to assess potential fire behaviour under extreme fire weather conditions within a 10,881-ha maritime pine landscape in central Portugal, the Leiria National Forest. Models describing fire hazard and providing information to assess potential benefits of stand-level fuel treatments were developed based on fire behaviour simulation. These models use as predictors stand variables and may assist forest managers in identifying hazardous areas in pine forests. Models were built from a database comprising 94,207 unique combinations of variables to detect significant fire-landscape interactions between stand-level features and fire behaviour. A set of compatible models that express crown fire likelihood and tree mortality were fitted using logistic regression. Additionally, classification tree analysis was used to model the type of fire, fire suppression difficulty, and tree mortality. The results highlight the potential of this methodology to explain the influences of fuel- and stand-related variables on fire hazard. This approach allowed the identification of straightforward discrimination rules to implement fuel treatments that prevent crown fires, enhancing the effectiveness of fire suppression and thereby reducing fire damage in fire-prone forest stands. Results further allow developing specific hazard-reduction prescriptions based on common forest metrics without resorting to advanced simulation modelling.


Fire behaviour modelling Fuel treatments Maritime pine Tree mortality Fire management Fire-adapted silviculture 



This research was supported by several projects funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation: the simulation of fire behaviour in the framework of the Project “Decision support tools for integrating fire and forest management planning” (PTDC/ AGR-CFL/64146/2006) and Project FIRE-ENGINE “Flexible Design of Forest Fire Management Systems” (MIT/FSE/0064/2009), and the fire behaviour models in the frame of SADRI “Models and Decision Support Systems for Addressing Risk and Uncertainty in Forest Planning” (PTDC/AGR-FOR/4526/2012). The study was also partially supported by INTEGRAL “Future Oriented Integrated Management of European Forest Lands” (Collaborative Project No. 282887) which is funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES), and by the SuFoRun project “Models and decision SUpport tools for integrated FOrest policy development under global change and associated Risk and Uncertainty” funded by the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 691149. Researcher Jordi Garcia-Gonzalo was supported by a “Ramon y Cajal” research contract from the MINECO (Ref. RYC-2013-14262) and has received funding from CERCA Programme/Generalitat de Catalunya. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Portuguese Science Foundation for funding the Ph.D. scholarship of Brigite Botequim (SFRH/BD/44830/2008).

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)
10342_2017_1050_MOESM2_ESM.docx (150 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 150 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Botequim
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. M. Fernandes
    • 2
  • J. Garcia-Gonzalo
    • 1
    • 3
  • A. Silva
    • 1
  • J. G. Borges
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Research Centre, School of AgricultureUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences (CITAB)University of Trás–os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  3. 3.Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC)E25280 Solsona (Lleida)Spain

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