Guest blog by Milan Gazdic , University of Belgrade (Serbia)

In Montenegro, forests and forest land occupy approximately 70% of the territory of the country. Montenegro forests provide many benefits and services to society, including clean water and air, recreation, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, climate regulation, and a variety of forest products. Climate influences the structure and function of forest ecosystems and plays a substantial role in forest health. A changing climate may worsen many of the threats to forests, such as pest outbreaks, fires, human development, and drought. Directly and indirectly, climate change affects the growth and productivity of forests through changes in temperature, precipitation, and other factors.

Forest fires represent one of the most relevant threats to Montenegrin forests. The forest area annually affected by fires represents almost 1% of the total forest area of the country. In the majority of the forests there are no plans for fire protection; in addition, there are very limited infrastructures and planned roads which would serve to protect.

The Short-Term Scientific Mission was carried out by Milan Gazdic from Faculty of Forestry University of Belgrade (Serbia) who visited the National Research Council, Institute of Biometeorology (CNR-IBIMET) Sassari (Italy) between 07/10/2019 and 27/10/2019. In this study, he cooperated with dr. Michele Salis and dr. Pierpaolo Duce (CNR-IBIMET).

During the STSM, we assessed the potential effects of climate change on fires in the Balkan area, specifically in Montenegro. In order to that, we performed fire simulations on stady area (National park Lovćen – Montenegro). The fire simulations was performed with FlamMap MTT for the study area, taking into consideration future climate change scenarios and actual conditions. FlamMap can simulate potential fire behavior characteristics (spread rate, flame length, fireline intensity, etc.), fire growth and spread and conditional burn probabilities under constant environmental conditions (weather and fuel moisture). The information on the probability of burning is necessary for virtually all strategic fire and fuels management planning activities, including conducting wildland fire risk assessments, optimizing fuel treatments, and prevention planning.

The results of this STSM will contribute to achieving the goals of DAMOCLES. It will help in the selection of appropriate statistical and modelling techniques needed for the analysis and evaluation of the effects of complex events on existing weather and climate risk assessments. We will make relevant and freely available information for complex impact assessments findable.