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Title: D7.1-1.1-36 List and classification of the existing EU and national forest legislation and national policy instruments with reference to wildland, suppression and prescribed fires /
Language: English
Description: A compilation and classification was made of existing regulations and policy instruments with reference to wildland, suppression and prescribed fires, both in North African countries and for Europe. Since wildland fire issues are mainly dealt within national forest policies, this analysis has mainly focused on the national scale, although the existence of different multilevel governance structures make it necessary to address the issue on a regional level in decentralized countries. Thus, three types of regulatory texts are identified as relevant for the Integrated Wildland Fire Management: (i) Basic Forest Legislation, (ii) Basic Wildland Fire Legislation, and (iii) Specific Legislation on the Use of Fire. Concerning policy instruments, two planning documents have been considered: National/Regional Forest Programmes and specific plans concerning defence and protection against wildfires. Its typology depends on (i) the different rhythms and evolving stages of the forest policies, and (ii) the responsibility allocation within each national governance structure (situation of decentralization). The compilation and classification of these documents was based on the information obtained from a questionnaire sent to the national experts of the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) established by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the Commission, and on other relevant databases with information about wildfires and national forest policies. The review of existing wildland fire legal and policy instruments in 21 EU countries and three North African countries has identified the following key issues: (1) The existence of a range of definitions related to wildland fire management, with different meanings in different European settings as well as differing legal terminology for these terms. (2) The importance of the structure of national governance. The degree of decentralization will determine where the responsibilities are allocated and how they are developed. Therefore, the structure of national governance will be one of the main factors guiding future assessment of national forest policies. (3) The influence of the European Union in national forest policies through EU regulations dealing with specific aspects of the forest sector or forest-related issues, as a complement to national activities, where necessary. (4) There is a great diversity among the regulatory texts and policy instruments related to wildland, suppression and prescribed fires in European and North African countries, due to the different rhythms and evolving stages of the forest policies and the different wildfire risk in each national/regional context. (5) Few of the analysed countries have a specific wildland fire law or regulation. Most of them deal with wildfires within their Forest Laws, through a specific chapter dedicated to wildfires (Southern countries) or in a general chapter on forest protection (Northern countries). (6) There are some countries that do not yet have a specific policy for wildland fires, but progress on forest policy is noted in all the countries included in the report. (7) The compilation of policy instruments shows that 12 of 17 countries considered in the document have a specific wildland fire plan or strategy; these are often linked to national forest policy. (8) Regulation of the use of fire in Europe, although extensive, has focused almost exclusively on the regulation of activities that involve the use of fire in wildland areas or close to these areas (i.e. fire for recreation, alimentation purposes or traditional rural practices). However, fire use for forest management, wildfire prevention and for wildfire suppression receives little attention in legislation. When addressed, it is usually authorized but not regulated, possibly due to the recent development of these perspectives in the continent.