Fire and Water Restoration: How Does It Work

Looking for fire restoration near me? What is fire and water restoration? The restoration of forestry in degraded areas is necessary to ensure the long-term conservation of soils and generate the multiple benefits that forest systems provide. It has to be clarified that the restoration is not always identified with the repopulation of trees.

Fire and water restoration in the forest

Forest fires and wind and snowstorms have severe consequences on the natural environment due to the loss of flora cover and the subsequent erosion of the land.

Forest Fire and Water Restoration Plans:

The objective of the Fire and Water Restoration is to restore the existing forest in the area before a fire and prevent the proliferation of pests and erosion. That is why it is necessary to evaluate the damages produced and determine the measures required for the restoration. These measures depend on the type of vegetation and its degree of affectation, its potential natural regeneration possibilities, and the type of terrain in which we find ourselves.

The removal of burned wood must be carried out immediately after the fire to avoid damaging the emerging regeneration and eliminate possible sources of pest infection. In areas with a steep slope and prevent erosion, the wood is arranged parallel to contour lines, forming land containment cordons. The remains are eliminated by crushing, cutting, or burning. 

The Fire and Water Restoration process will depend on the evolution of the existing natural regeneration, defining treatments to help natural regeneration, or, if this is not possible, reforestation aid through planting or sowing. If necessary, the land preparation is usually done by manual or mechanized holes or with linear subsoil. 

Once the fire and water restoration has been upgraded, the necessary silvicultural treatments must be carried out to improve the structure of the mass in its different stages of evolution.

What do fire and water restoration services entail

A forest fire and water restoration includes protecting forests, correcting torrential beds, and conservation and improvement work on the vegetation cover. The objective of these interventions is to stop, collect and store the water.

Vegetation cover is the first brake that rainwater finds when it falls. The water that passes through the aerial part of the plants reaches the ground with much less force so that a good amount of it can infiltrate and remain within the soil available for the plants. Otherwise, the water reaches the soil surface with force and is pulled downwards without being used by the plants. That is why it is a priority to restore the vegetation cover in areas with deforested slopes.

But reforestation is often not enough, especially in a Mediterranean climate where there are episodes of torrential rains with very heavy precipitation in a short time. In these cases in which the vegetation cover is not sufficient, structural works such as banks, corrections of torrent beds or retaining dams must be resorted to.

After the fires: the real challenge of ecological fire and water restoration 

The forest fires affected during the season highlight the vulnerability of the state to fire. Due to the extent and magnitude of the damage, it is understandable that the fire and water restoration focus has been on the consequences of the fires. But this has left issues that should now be a priority in the background: evaluating the factors that influenced this catastrophe to prevent them in the future and putting into practice a long-term and large-scale plan for the restoration of native ecosystems. We believe that this last point, which implies an enormous challenge that should set the public plan for the coming years, has been taken with alarming lightness. 

Fire and water restoration is a challenge

First, it must be made clear that reforestation is not analogous to restoration. Restoring an ecosystem implies developing activities to initiate or accelerate the recovery of the ecosystem concerning its health, integrity, and sustainability.

In this sense, fire and water restoration goes far beyond simple reforestation with native species: it seeks to recover the composition and structure of the ecosystem and its functionality.

For example, let’s imagine a house that was seriously damaged by an earthquake. If we focus only on recovering its structure using original materials and plans, we will surely make it look very similar to before the earthquake. However, suppose we do not also repair the electrical system, the gas pipes, and the water supply and drainage system. In that case, the house’s functionality will be seriously impaired, making it even more vulnerable to the next earthquake. Similarly, essential functions are lost when a forest is seriously damaged, such as erosion control, infiltration, and nutrient cycling. 

The simple fact of reforestation will not necessarily recover these functions. This is why, in the face of the damage caused by these fires, it is urgent to implement actions aimed at maintaining or recovering the fundamental functions of the ecosystem as soon as possible.

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