New concept explored in Viet Nam: Fire ecology

07 October 2007 | News story

Forests fires are a natural ecological phenomenon. Effective fire management should endeavour to exploit the positive role of fires while mitigating its negative impacts.

Understanding the linkages between fire ecology and forest fire management as well as how fires impact the health of watersheds in protected areas is critical for implementing effective conservation initiatives in Viet Nam.

The workshop ‘Impacts of Current Fire Management Practices on Biodiversity and Watersheds in Protected Areas of Vietnam’ hasgenerated an improved understanding of forest ecology in Viet Nam.

In mid-September, Protected Area practitioners, managers, fire specialists, and policy makers gathered together at this workshop to learn more about fire ecology. The workshop was jointly organized by Viet Nam Forest Protection Department (FPD), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.  The workshop was made possible with generous sponsorship from FPD, The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the United State Agency for International Development (USAID).

Workshop attendees participated in debates that explored the importance of fire to forest ecosystems, forest fire policy and regulations; prescribed burning; and forest fire and biodiversity in the context of global climate change.   

The current protected area policy of Viet Nam restricts the use of fire as a management practice. Protected Area forest managers must prevent forest fires and sometimes resort to management actions that are detrimental to the forest’s natural ecosystem, such as keeping water levels high during the dry season.

The workshop concluded with the following recommendations: FPD should revise regulations that enables effective fire management in protected areas; more studies of fire ecology should be conducted and awareness on the role of forest fire in ecosystems should be improved; and FPD should collaborate with international partners to improve fire management in Viet Nam.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Nguyen Thi Yen at yen@iucn.org.vn