Currently working

Research Projects
Fire Severity Reduction through New Tools and Technologies for Integrated Forest Fire Protection Management “GEPRIF”

Research Project:  Fire Severity Reduction through New Tools and Technologies for Integrated Forest Fire Protection Management “GEPRIF”(RTA2014-00011-C06-05). Project Leader: Dr. Carmen Hernando Lara.

The forest fires are the main threat to many Spanish forests landscapes with significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Forecasts of changes in climate and land use management portend a worsening problem. Therefore it is essential to have new tools and appropriate technologies for the forest ecosystems protection against fire. The proposal is based on the hypothesis that fire severity, defined as the magnitude of fire effects of fire on an ecosystem, is a key aspect to consider in management strategies planning aimed at the protection against forest fires through: prevention, suppression, restoration, and their interrelationships. Consequently, we will develop methodologies, tools and technologies for the management and landscape planning to reduce the impact of fires, applicable before, during and after the fire, through the achievement of the following objectives:

  • Obtain new systems for quantifying forest fuels
  • Integrated evaluation of preventive treatments in forest fuels to reduce fire severity, based on its effectiveness, longevity and ecological effects on soil and vegetation
  • Estimate the difficulty of fire suppression and mop-up and operational capabilities along with the influence of smoldering phase on soil burn severity
  • Predict the potential severity of forest fires and the effects of preventive treatments to determine priority areas for action, both preventive and post-fire rehabilitation
  • Assess the most important actions of post-fire restoration and testing new biodegradable materials for reducing post-fire erosion risk
  • Evaluate the economic efficiency of prevention, suppression and rehabilitation
  • Dissemination  and transfer of project results

We expect the project to generate scientific and technical information related to fuel management, actions and opportunities in suppression and mop-up activities, as well as on the post-fire recovery processes and urgent rehabilitation actions. The final goal is to achieve a more integrated and efficient protection of forest landscape in the context of sustainable forest management.

Spanish Black Pine (Pinus nigra Arn. ssp salzmannii) adaptation to climate change

Research Project:  Spanish Black Pine (Pinus nigra Arn. ssp salzmannii) adaptation to climate change (POII10-0112-7316). Castilla La Mancha University and Castilla La Mancha Government. Project Leader: Dr. Antonio del Cerro Barja.

The increasing concentrations of gases associated with the changes in climate and air pollution will affect forest ecosystems in a way that is still unknown. Trees, with longer life cycles than those of annual plants, will be affected by the rapid changes generated by the fluctuation of temperatures and precipitation, since they are not able to respond to migration mechanisms or genetic selection in short periods of time. Forests are particularly sensitive to climate change; their long life and slow growth do not allow rapid adaptation to environmental changes. Forest adaptation measures need to be planned and should be anticipate to the expected changes in growth conditions, since the forests that are today in regeneration are those that will suffer the climatic conditions in the coming decades, even centuries. Therefore, it is necessary to determine how the current environmental conditions interact with different levels of genetic diversity and the impact generated in forest populations. For these reasons, one of the main objectives of this project is to understand both genetic variability and the factors that determine the ability of forest to respond and adapt to the environment by focusing the study on the mass of Pinus nigra Arn. ssp salzmannii of the Iberian Peninsula, given its special adaptation to drought and special soil.
Involved Institutions: University of Malaga, University of Valencia, Andalucía and Castilla La Mancha Governments, Castilla La Mancha University.

Soil quality evaluation of forest soils in Cuenca Mountain

Research Project: Soil quality evaluation of forest soils in Cuenca Mountain. Castilla La Mancha University and Castilla La Mancha Government. Project Leader: Dra. Manuela Andrés Abellán

Environmental problems, social transformations and the great progress in the forest science have changed forest management concept in the last years, particularly the main objectives in which forest management has to be based. Thus, forest systems play a main role in relation to global sustainability, providing some forest resources and favoring some ecosystems functions as biodiversity, carbon sink and soil and water protection. Sustainable forest management has to promote all these ecosystems functions. Furthermore, forest management also generates soil impacts, which should be evaluated using soil indicators. The main challenger is to select these soil indicators and to determinate what types of parameters and variables should be used as soil impact indicators. Thus, different methodologies related to the sustainable forest management will be developed at the present research work. Multi-parametric indices will be taken into account. Moreover, the effect of grazing on the soil microorganisms will be also evaluated under different grazing intensities at different forest locations. Joint to this, changes in vegetal composition will be analyzed. Finally, with the aim to analyze the impact of forest remains treatment on the soil, microbiologic soil properties and enzymatic activities will be determined.

Involved Institutions: CEBAS-CSIC, Castilla La Mancha Government and Castilla La Mancha University.

Evaluation of natural disasters impacts over the human mental health

Research Project: Evaluation of natural disasters impacts over the human mental health.  The case of floods.

Natural disasters are traumatic events that can cause health problems in the exposed population. The overall objective of this project is the determine the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the population exposed to a flood.

Involved Institutions: Servicio Andaluz de Salud and Castilla La Mancha University.

Improving resilience and decreasing vulnerabulity of Mediterranean Forest ecosystems affected by wildfires

The project aims to assess the eco-hydrological effects some soil and plant restoration measures such as for example check dams, log debris or rock check dams at watershed affected by forest fires. We will also evaluate the economic cost of such tools responding the following questions: how much money do cost to retain a ton of soil after a forest fire? or what investment is needed to recovery the levels of biodiversity prior to the fire?
Main researcher: Manuel Esteban Lucas Borja
Institution Funding: Castilla La Mancha University and Albacete Council.