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Seed money for the project FireScapes

28 May 2021
Every year ASI awards seed money to promising interdisciplinary projects. FireScapes: towards an interdisciplinary understanding of wildfire risk mitigation in the Dutch landscape is one of the ASI seed money winners 2021

FireScapes: towards an interdisciplinary understanding of wildfire risk mitigation in the Dutch landscape

Over the last year, the number of wildfires has increased dramatically in the Netherlands and they are expected to increase further. This increase can be attributed to both climate change and changes in the use and management of the land. Researchers and fire practitioners plead for measures to prevent the spreading of fires over large nature areas, for example by developing vegetation buffers of low flammability between highly flammable areas. Like the wildfires themselves, these measures could have a great impact on the (historical) landscapes and the ecological, cultural and political values they constitute. 

There are some important knowledge gaps that hamper the design of appropriate and effective prevention methods of wildfires in the Netherlands. While some measures exist, they may not be suitable for the Dutch landscape. Secondly, the current increase as well as prevention and mitigation of wildfires are the result of complex human-nature interactions. The design of appropriate measures therefore requires transdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge production.

In this project, the research group wants to map this knowledge gap on the relationship between wildfires, wildfire risk reduction and mitigation measures and the ecological, cultural and political values of the Dutch landscape. They will conduct a pilot study of the Veluwe and connect with land managers and policy makers in the area. Finally, they aim to integrate the project within their different bachelor and master teaching programmes. 

Research team 

  • Dr Linde Egberts, Assistant Professor Heritage Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, CLUE+ Research Institute
  • Dr Evelien de Hoop, Assistant Professor Health and Sustainability at the Athena Institute, Faculty of Science
  • Dr Marleen de Ruiter, Assistant Professor, Water & Climate Risk, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Faculty of Science
  • Dr Sander Veraverbeke, Associate Professor Climate & Ecosystems Change, Faculty of Science