Grazing activity for fire protection buffer zones maintenance in residential areas

Grazing activity for fire protection buffer zones maintenance in residential areas

14 November 2016

Opening and maintenance of buffer zones is a compulsory measure that has to be attended by plot owners in residential areas in order to increase its protection against forest fires. Whenever plot owners do not attend this demand, subsidiary liability relies on local governments.

Buffer zones can be maintained by mechanical means but also through livestock grazing activity. When the animals are already living in the area and they do not have to be expressly brought from other places then costs are significantly reduced and livestock maintenance of the buffer zones becomes a very interesting option.

When considering livestock holdings under the LIFE Montserrat project, buffer zones maintenance can be an opportunity for them to obtain important additional income and improve their economic viability.

In response to the local governments need for buffer zones maintenance and to the farmers need for economic compensation to their fire prevention activity, the LIFE Montserrat staff decided to bring them all together in a workshop focused on that issue.

The workshop took place on November 10 in Esparreguera and it was divided into two parts. In the first part Sílvia Escolano, from Diputació de Barcelona, explained to the municipal technicians the legal framework dealing with the opening and maintenance of buffer zones in residential areas. She also presented the set of tools available for local governments in order to take charge of their responsibility in this matter.

LIFE Montserrat Farmers joined the workshop in its second part. Each one of them sat down with the municipal technicians of his area and explored together technical, logistical and economical possibilities to end up with an agreement concerning livestock maintenance of the buffer zones.

All the participants were very positive about the experience and in some cases pre-agreements between farmers and local technicians were achieved. So it seems that a future fruitful collaboration opens up in this field.

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