Post of the month 01/2021: Pau Costa Foundation, innovation, research and impact

The Pau Costa Foundation is a non-profit organization that facilitates the encounter between researchers, emergency services and civil society in the field of fire ecology and management. We work at a range of spatial scales, from local to international scales to bridge the knowledge transfer gap between the fire community and the targeted stakeholders.

Europe is a highly populated continent, where most of the natural spaces have been highly transformed by different cultures over millennia. Embracing the fundamental impact of society and its activities in wildfires is necessary to understand these perturbations. Thus, perceiving landscapes as socioecological environments, means considering the central role that populations have in preventing, mitigating, managing and adapting to wildfires.

The Foundation promotes and supports actions that engage different types of actors (e.g. researchers, fire practitioners, society) in projects that contribute to increase the resilience of landscapes and society.

Find out more about all our projects: https://www.paucostafoundation.org/en/proyectos/

One of the sections of the Foundation are the projects contributing to understanding the socio-economic aspects linked to wildfires, as well as generating a positive impact on the territory:

  • Fire Flocks (bioeconomy, shepherds and fire prevention and management)

Development of a socio-economic model to manage Mediterranean landscapes for fire prevention through implementing prescribed grazing1,8. Different actors have been involved in the project in order to create a circular economic model based on rural economy that enhance landscape management. In the pilot areas of Fire Flocks, the project is improving risk awareness in the local and regional populations. To develop this model in other regions, FireShepherds2, an Erasmus+ project, started with the aim of creating a cooperative network among European shepherds’ schools, shepherds and public administrations to exchange best practices in developing silvopastoralism and wildfire resilient landscapes.

  • Doctoral transdisciplinary research

The Foundation participates in the PyroLife project3 by developing research focused on a systems-thinking framework that bolsters adaptive land management as a wildland fire risk reduction approach in rural and semi-rural Mediterranean communities. This is done by considering an arrange of socio-ecological analyses, adopting lessons from water management practices, focusing on socially inclusive research, and developing a communication tool.

  • Dissemination, Education and Awareness Programmes

The programmes are developed in collaboration with researchers and experts in the field. The foundation’s educational programme was initially dedicated to youth environmental education via workshops in schools. The workshops are supported by cartoon series4, guides for educators5, and videogames6 available in several languages. Additionally, the Art & Fire Programme is dedicated to risk awareness and knowledge dissemination through the Arts. Several artists contribute to the Virtual Wildfires Museum, the in-person travelling exhibitions or the fixed art exhibit ‘Playing with Fire” at L’Espluga de Francolí, Spain. Finally, the programme promotes the production of documentaries, such as the Great Silence (2015, available in English7).

More info about our staff team: https://www.paucostafoundation.org/en/organizacion/equipo-ejecutivo/

Resources:

1 BBC World Hacks (2018)

2 FireShepherds

3 https://pyrolife.lessonsonfire.eu/

4 🐺🐐 MeFiTu & Jara 👉🏽 Chapter 2: Forest Management

5 Environmental education guide to forest fires

6 NHDPlay project

7 The great silence

8 Fire Flocks, grazing systems to reduce wildfire severity

Author: Núria Prat-Guitart, leads the research section of the Foundation and also the WG5 on socio-economic aspects of wildfires.

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