Severe Wildfire in a Mediterranean Forest

  • Roberto Molowny-Horas
  • Armonía Borrego
  • Pere Riera
  • Josep Maria Espelta


This case study illustrates the equivalency analysis for estimating ex post environmental damage and appropriate compensatory remediation following a severe wildfire caused by a power line in a forest protected under the European Union Habitats Directive (HD). The study addresses long-term environmental damage (e.g., over several decades) by a large-scale disturbance in a terrestrial ecosystem, and includes an analysis of uncertainty associated with the potential occurrence of natural future fire events in the area. Accounting for the probability of natural future forest fires directly affects both baseline and compensatory remediation options by reducing the habitat area compared to an assumption of no future forest fires. Only natural forest fires, i.e., 10% of all forest fires, have been included in the calculations of both the baseline and the compensatory remediation, since the operator may not be made liable for accidental or provoked forest fires. The impact of this hypothesis is tested by means of a sensitivity analysis. The case study illustrates:
  • Considerations in selecting a metric from various potential ones (hectares, trees, biomass, habitat quality) for terrestrial habitats included in the HD;

  • Application of a value equivalency approach (specifically, value-to-value);

  • Analysis of key variables (e.g., differences in metrics, single/multiple metrics, on-site/off-site implementation); and

  • Sensitivity of the results to changes in four key model parameters (i.e. area of future forest fires, tree mortality, percentage of natural forest fires and tree minimum diameter at breast height).


Habitat equivalency analysis Value equivalency analysis Forest wildfire Pinus nigra—simulation model Spain 



Roberto Molowny-Horas acknowledges the partial financial support of the Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia and the European Social Fund through the Plan Nacional de Potenciación de Recursos Humanos. Thanks are due to W. Thuiller for providing the authors with maps of potential distribution of Q. ilex in Catalonia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Molowny-Horas
    • 1
  • Armonía Borrego
    • 2
  • Pere Riera
    • 3
  • Josep Maria Espelta
    • 1
  1. 1.CREAFCerdanyola del Vallès 08193Spain
  2. 2.Center for Research in Environmental GeographyNational Autonomous University of Mexico (CIGA—UNAM)MichoacanMexico
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental Sciences and TechnologyAutonomous University of Barcelona, ICTABellateraSpain

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