Post of the month 07/2020: GRAM

The Mediterranean Environmental Research Group (GRAM) (www.ub.edu/gram) belongs to the Geography Department of the University of Barcelona. GRAM was born in 1992 and was one of the first formally recognized research groups in the field of Geography in Catalonia, currently with code (2017SGR1344).

The backbone of the various thematic lines of the GRAM is the concept of landscape, as a geographical and historical totalizer. It is a genuinely integrative concept that allows us to connect physical facts with human and social factors. A connection that we establish through the environment, essentially from the physical environment in which biological processes develop, and from the territory, paying attention to the human and social reality, in which, the physical and natural environment play a fundamental role.

Within these GRAM thematic lines, one of the most important has been the research carried out on wildfires, forest management and their relation to the social and economic features of the territory and the impact that different forest management tools, for example, prescribed fires have at the level of the soil, water and vegetation.

In relation with this topic, GRAM with the Pau Costa Foundation organized in 2017 the International Congress on Prescribed Fires in Barcelona.

To carry out these studies, the GRAM has collaboration agreements with the Catalan Government’s Fire Brigade (GRAF), with administrations in charge of managing the territory such as the Barcelona Provincial Council (DIBA), as well as those in charge of forest management in Catalonia as is the Forest Property Center of Catalonia (CPF).

Today, we believe that the relationships we promote from research are very important in order to be able to participate in the decisions that are made in the territory, such as changes in land use (from forestry to agricultural and especially pasture); the reintroduction of livestock and the revitalization of the rural world; the use of the wildfire phenomenon to rethink new situations and changes in tree species or even change in land use, that is, to perceive the burnt landscape by wildfires as an occasion for changing in a more sustainable landscape.

As geographers we are also interested in the society and the economy of the rural world, as an essential fact to prevent abandonment and thus reduce the wildfire risk. These aspects are currently being investigated thanks to the Project: “Post-fire forest management and management strategies for conserving and improving soil quality” from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (CGL2016-75178-C2-2-R. 2017-2020).

It is also very important for the group to study the social perception of the territory and the new dimension of forest ownership through the owners associations as a means to carry out a more organized forest management.

Contact: Xavier Úbeda: xubeda@ub.edu

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