Why do environmentalists eat meat?

A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

Incrementar la biodiversidad del verde urbano permitiría aumentar la presencia de aves paseriformes en las ciudades mediterráneas, según un estudio científico realizado por investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) que analiza qué estrategias hay que implementar sobre la vegetación urbana para conseguir "naturalizar" las ciudades favoreciendo la entrada de flora y fauna.

The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

An ICTA-UAB study analyses the distribution and accumulation of microplastics from one of the main rivers of the western Mediterranean.

European project to support rooftop greenhouses projects

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is launching an open call to support rooftop greenhouse projects, in the framework of GROOF Project.

El ICTA-UAB participa en el proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos

El Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) es una de las instituciones impulsoras de un proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos para disminuir el impacto de las altas temperaturas del verano.

A warmer ocean will lead to 17% reduction in global marine animal biomass, by the end of the century

Climate change will affect the distribution and abundance of marine life, but the full extent of these changes under future warming has been difficult to predict due to the limitations of individual ecosystem models used for such forecasts.

New study dismisses green growth policies as a route out of ecological emergency

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the Goldsmiths University of London suggest that emissions reduction is only compatible with a lower economical degrowth or a degrowth scenario.

New cross-boundary approach for addressing wicked weed problems

Weed species continue to spread and management costs continue to mount, in spite of best management practices and efforts by research and extension personnel who promote them to land managers.

Urban green spaces do not benefit the health of all

In general, the creation of parks and green spaces in urban centers has positive effects on the health of city residents.

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé receives an ERC Advanced Grant

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé has been awarded an Advanced Grant (AdvGr) from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop the project "New geochemical approach to reconstruct tropical palaeo-atmospheric dynamics" (PALADYN).

Urban Agriculture on Rooftops Provides Healthy, Fresh and Sustainable Food

​The implementation of urban gardens on building rooftops could produce fresh, healthy and sustainable agricultural food and guarantee the food sovereignty of cities, which are becoming increasingly populated.

Indigenous knowledge, key to a successful ecosystem restoration

Ecological restoration projects actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities are more successful. This is the result of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

Future changes in human well-being more likely to depend on Social Factors than Economic Factors

The changes in the perception of personal well-being that could take place in the next three decades, on a global level, depend much more on social factors than on economic ones.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.
ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Date: 2018-10-24

NP- Incendios forestales


Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Climate change may increase the intensity of forest fires and reducing their impact is a fundamental adaptation strategy. The increase in temperatures and prolonged dry spells, in addition to the current characteristics of the land and increased vegetation due to the abandonment of agricultural fields and urbanisation of residential areas very near to forests, have all elevated the potential capacity for fires to the highest levels. This situation often causes firefighters to face fires which are beyond their ability to extinguish and therefore forces them to prioritise their interventions.

In order to set down new ways of managing the land and better control forest fires, researchers at the Conservation, Biodiversity and Global Change Group of the ICTA-UAB have begun a pioneering project which receives funding from the Biodiversity Foundation of the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition, through its call for grants for climate change adaptation projects. The project, which will last until June 2019, will include the participation of the main agents involved in fire management, such as the Catalan Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), landowners, citizens and industries, with the aim of developing a participative prevention and fire fighting strategy capable of establishing the main economic, cultural and ecological values needing protection in the case of fires, and prioritising them collectively.

"Climate change is increasing the risks of forest fires in some areas of the planet. As we saw this past summer in Greece or California, only a few fires are enough to surpass a state's capacity to protect civilians", stated Dr Iago Otero, lead researcher of the project. "The final objective is to work on reducing this high risk and for society to decide what landscape values must be protected and how they can organise themselves to do so", he added.

The project will analyse types of fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve and how these can worsen due to climate change. At the same time, the project will establish a series of strategic management points, i.e., key landscape areas in which management interventions (maintaining agricultural fields, extensive pastures, etc.) can help to reduce the intensity of future fires, offering thus possibilities for their extinction and minimising the effects they can have on the social value of the landscape.

The participative work sessions with all parties involved will allow determining the main landscape values to take into consideration and which strategic management points are essential for the protection of this biosphere reserve. "This will result in an agreed prevention and extinction strategy which can minimise the loss of landscape values registered during the participatory process. The project will reduce the number and impact of large forest fires, and will foster an institutional coordination of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies", Dr Iago Otero points out.

This project is based on the pilot study Democratizing wildfire strategies. Do you realize what it means? Insights from a participatory process in the Montseny region (Catalonia, Spain) led by Dr Iago Otero and recently published in PLOS ONE. The method behind this pilot study will now be replicated at a larger scale, since it has demonstrated that social participation in planning prevention strategies can reduce the risk of forest fires. The team led by Dr Otero, a former postdoctoral researcher from the Humboldt University of Berlin, organised a series of participatory sessions from 2014 to 2016 which served to improve the coordination among the different actors, as well as to help citizens express their views on the areas needing more protection in case of a forest fire.

This information was included in the fire spreading models used by the Catalan Fire and Rescue Service, which allowed to identify the strategic management points which could minimise impacts in the most valued areas. According to Dr Marc Castellnou, head of the group of specialists in forest fires at GRAF (CFRS) and co-author of the study, this pilot method is a first step towards the co-responsibility of society in managing forest fires. "Firefighters need society to become actively involved in managing emergencies. If not, the system we use to extinguish fires will collapse when faced with today's climate change problems", Dr Castellnou stated.
Open access article link: 

Open access article link: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0204806

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