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Vulnerability Map and Risk Map

 

A main objective is to express vulnerability in measurable units or single indices in order to be used for the estimation of the total fire risk at European level. In order to achieve this objective a wide variety of factors (physical, social, economic, and environmental factors) influencing vulnerability of the territory to forest fires will be derived from satellite data and other statistic and cartographic sources. This methodology, therefore, requires a framework for selecting the main variables and factors that characterize the vulnerability of the coupled human-environment system. Geographical Information Systems and multi-criteria evaluation will be used in the definition of synthetic indexes: social, economic and environmental vulnerability indexes. For example, variables such as rainfall aggressiveness (maximum rainfall intensity in 24 h), slope steepness and a soil proneness to erosion factor (integrating lithological maps with organic matter estimation), resilience and protection value of vegetation could be integrated in an environmental index. These indexes will be combined in a hierarchical structure in order to produce a final synthetic index which provides comprehensive spatial information useful for spatial planning users focused on reducing forest fire vulnerability, from a global to a local perspective. In fact, the major challenge of this map will be the definition of a synthetic index that use harmonized variables and factors, making possible the inter-comparison of vulnerability in different areas of Mediterranean and highlight areas that should be prioritized in terms of protection against forest fires. Simultaneously, and in  close connection with the vulnerability map, an economic value map will be created, in order to quantify the market value of the elements at risk. This evaluation allows the estimation of  parameters related with the financial investment needed to retrieve an element, according to its vulnerability, after the destruction or loss of performance due to exposure to a harmful phenomenon. This kind of approach is being applied for the production of the municipal risk map, in Portugal (DGRF, 2006, 2007; Verde and Zêzere, 2007). However, its implementation is carried out at a local scale, making the evaluation of elements value simpler to achieve. Working at European scale, an effort to variable harmonization will be necessary. The implementation of this tool will take into account the economic value of the different classes of land use, human infrastructures and natural assets. The creation of indexes for determination of the economic value of the different elements, considered in the fire risk analysis, will be one of the hardest tasks to perform, due to the high difficulty to evaluate different elements in different countries, conditioned by different economic, socio-cultural and environmental characteristics. Therefore is necessary an adequate harmonization of the chosen variables and factors, in order to make possible the inter-comparison of the value of the elements at risk in the different areas of Mediterranean, which is not possible at the moment. Fieldwork, in order to validate the selected variables and factors in both products, will be carried out in Northern Portugal, a region plagued by forest fires. Seasonal Risk Maps will be obtained by combining the PREFER Seasonal Hazard Maps with the Seasonal Exposure Maps.

 

 

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