16 August 2016
In July 2015 a forest fire burned over 1200 hectares near Montserrat, directly affecting the LIFE Montserrat project area. Since then, a public research centre focused on forest ecology and wildfires (CREAF) is working on the monitoring of regeneration in the burnt area.
During the fire, forestry works that had been carried out in the area proved to be effective in helping firemen to stop the fire and avoid its spread towards the Montserrat Natural Park. One year later, those same forestry works are contributing to the regeneration of the vegetation according to the CREAF study. CREAF researcher Josep Maria Espelta explains it as follows: “We have seen that forest management is key. In the groves of young pines where previously the density was greater and had been reduced, the effects of the forest fire were nearly 50% less severe. This has favoured higher resprouting of shrub and tree species in these areas and will aid the recovery of the burnt area.”
The fire was a tragic event especially for those directly affected, but once it has happened it should be used to gather helpful information to improve land management with a view to future forest fires still to come.