Inadequate and illegal use of fire and the lack of awareness about its negative effects on the environment and human health are causing major forest fires, leading to a loss of large forest areas and the disturbance of countless natural processes. In Peru, and particularly in the departments of Cajamarca, Pasco, Junin and Ucayali, this problem is aggravated in communities with an ancestral tradition of burning practices to attract rain or as a technique to clear stubble vegetation left behind by agricultural activities. This results in a high incidence of wildfires in natural forests, other wild vegetation formations and forest plantations, eventually leading to the loss of forest cover and natural wild flora and fauna habitats; damages to the physical integrity, health or property of individuals; greenhouse gas emissions; and loss of economic value of forest lands and wildlife resources.
The objective of this project is to contribute to the conservation of forest ecosystems and other types of wild vegetation under threat of forest fires. Its specific objective is to reduce forest fires by strengthening the capacities of national and local authorities in taking urgent actions for forest fire prevention and response. Positive effects of the project include the reduced loss of forest cover, ecosystems and natural habitats of wild flora and fauna; greater capacity of the national and local authories and local communities in prevention and response to forest fires; reduced emissions of greenhouse gases; and increased awareness about forest fires so as to accelerate the implementation of national and regional forest fire action plans.
Expected outputs of the project include: best forest and agricultural waste practices; public and private institutions effectively managing forest fire prevention and response protocols; efficient forest fire monitoring system; and knowledge management and outreach for forest fire prevention and response. In order to achieve these outputs, the project will raise awareness among agricultural producers regarding best forest and agricultural waste management practices and strengthen social organizations while ensuring effective coordination between public and private institutions. In addition, the project will support relevant institutions with early-warning and information systems and will disseminate forest-related regulations. The sustainability of the project will be extended under part of the forest fire programmes of SERFOR.