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Tedim F.,University of Porto | Leone V.,University of Basilicata | Xanthopoulos G.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

The current wildfire policies in European Union countries have not solved the wildfire problem and probably will not be effective in the future, as all the initiatives focus on suppression and minimize the use of fire embedded in the Traditional Ecologic Knowledge of European communities. The traditional fire use as a tool for land management has been handled and almost criminalized by an urban-centric perspective and anti-fire bias. These policies are poorly adapted to, and cannot cope with, the complex nature of the wildfire phenomenon since they neglect its social roots. This paper presents a forward-looking and innovative model of wildfire management focused not at the landscape, or community, or forest level but at the territory scale. Fire Smart Territory (FST) is the proposed theoretical, the context specific, and place-based operational framework. The grounding assumptions of FST are that fire is a dual and ambiguous process, that it is not merely a biophysical process with social overtones but a social process, and it is a complex issue which can be understood only in the coupled human and natural systems where it occurs. FST advocates that the current wildfire challenges cannot be solved by a check list of theoretically adequate procedures, but through locally understanding the wildfire problem and strategically preparing each territory to be less wildfire prone, and its inhabitants to be less vulnerable, and more resilient, in the scope of economic valorization, sustainable development, and safety of the territory resources. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Diakakis M.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Xanthopoulos G.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems | Gregos L.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
International Journal of Wildland Fire

Although forest fires are considered an integral part of forest ecosystems, the abundance of human activities in forested areas has led to a significant number of human casualties and to important effects on properties and infrastructure. Over recent decades, Greece has suffered extensive forest fire disasters, with a significant number of fatalities being recorded. However, there is no coherent inventory of human losses from fires in the country. This work develops and examines a database of 208 fatalities occurring in 78 forest fires in Greece between 1977 and 2013 to provide a better understanding of the circumstances under which fatal incidents occur. Around three-quarters of the victims were civilians; the remainder were firefighters, forest service officials and aircraft crews. Most deaths occurred in July and August, generally under adverse meteorological conditions. Male and older individuals showed an overrepresentation among the victims. A significant number of fatalities occurred in open space, mostly in wildland-urban interface areas and in tall forest vegetation. Late evacuation on foot or in a vehicle and firefighting were the most common activities of victims at the time of the incidents. © IAWF 2016. Source

Mitsopoulos I.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems | Xanthopoulos G.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems
Forest Ecology and Management

In this study we examined the effect of stand, topographic, and climatic factors on the fuel complex characteristics of Aleppo (Pinus halepensis Mill.) and Calabrian (Pinus brutia Ten.) pine forests of Greece, based on measurements in fifty six (56) plots dominated by Aleppo pine (28 plots) and Calabrian pine (28 plots) in four different forest sites. The data were analyzed through Random Forest regression, linear regression, and quantile regression. The results showed that for all the examined factors, basal area, stand density index and stand height were the most important factors explaining fuel complex characteristics in the region for both species. Topography and climate factors were not found to be significant factors for canopy fuels. However, elevation and annual precipitation showed a minor effect mainly on the shrub fuel layer of Calabrian pine. The analysis and the conclusions of the study can be important inputs for forest management decisions (thinning, fuel treatments, stand regeneration planning) quantifying the effect that certain fuel management actions can have on the fuel hazard that the stands of these two important Mediterranean pines represent. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Mitsopoulos I.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems | Trapatsas P.,ComSys | Xanthopoulos G.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture

The main objective of this study is the design and the development of a fire management software tool for Mediterranean pine forests of Greece. The system operates as a standalone application and allows the end users to apply various fire environment (meteorology, topography, fuel) scenarios in order to estimate the characteristics of fuel complexes in Mediterranean pine stands, to predict the expected fire behavior, as well as to implement and evaluate fuel treatments for reducing the intensity and severity of fires in such ecosystems. The system simulates fire behavior (probability of crown fire initiation, type of fire, rate of spread and fireline intensity) in different types of understory vegetation and stand overstory structure under different weather conditions using current well-tested fire behavior prediction models. All user interaction with the software is done via a friendly and modern Graphical User Interface (GUI), designed in Windows Presentation Foundation/eXtensible Application Markup Language (WPF/XAML), a framework with User Interface (UI) elements coded in C# .NET. The proposed system is expected to assist forest researchers, forest service officials and land managers to evaluate fuel hazard and assess the potential for initiation and spread of wildfires in Aleppo and Calabrian pine forests in Greece. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. Source

Tsopelas P.,Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems | Palavouzis S.,Agricultural University of Athens | Tzima A.K.,Agricultural University of Athens | Tsopelas M.A.,Agricultural University of Athens | And 2 more authors.
Forest Pathology

The fungus Ceratocystis platani was detected in various localities of the Gjirokastër prefecture in southern Albania, where it was causing widespread mortality on Platanus orientalis trees. The identification of the fungus was based on both morphological characteristics in culture and DNA sequencing. The pathogenicity of C. platani was confirmed in inoculations on seedlings of P. orientalis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of C. platani in Albania. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

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