Participants of Fire for Life workshop 2017. Photo: Tuomas Haapalehto.

The ”Fire For Life” international workshop on restoration burning and management of sunlit forested habitats was arranged in Lammi, Finland in April 2017 by the projects Light & Fire LIFE (Finland) and LIFE Taiga (Sweden).

In recent years ecological research has lifted up the importance of the use of fire in ecological restoration and habitat management in boreal forests. However, natural fires are nowadays practically absent from forests and the controlled use of fire as a tool to improve quality of N2000 areas has not increased as wished. An international workshop was arranged  to enhance the use of prescribed fire in restoration of Natura 2000 areas.

The workshop showed that current practices and public opinion with respect to use of fire differ significantly between European countries. Fire has been a common tool for forestry in Sweden and Finland for centuries. Because of the long tradition, the use of prescribed fire in conservation area management is well-understood and accepted by the public. In contrast, legislation and negative public opinion limit the use of fire in e.g. the Baltic countries and Poland.

The workshop showed clearly that fire is needed to maintain the diversity in boreal forests. Good examples from Sweden and Finland show that prescribed use of fire e.g. in forest restoration is a safe and efficient way to mimic natural fires that are currently absent from boreal forests. In addition to maintaining valuable species and habitats, the use of prescribed fire benefits also people e.g. by providing possibilities to train for fighting uncontrolled fires.

Prescribed burnings in Finland and Sweden


Last updated 21 February 2022