Stop the Harmful Forms of Prescribed Burnings!

The international public campaign of the International Socio-Ecological Union







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To determine of compromise harmless forms of prescribed burning, and focus the attention of society on them as an acceptable alternative to destructive forms of burning.


We believe that this work should be implemented in an open public space with information coverage in the press and social networks. In addition, this work should be realized in conjunction with the process of public notification of disastrous problems that have already arisen as a result of use of harmful forms of prescribed burns, considered in the position of the campaign.

For implementing small damage and risk to ecosystem this purpose, information on the permissible forms of prescribed burns will be collected and analyzed.

We can assume the following acceptable forms of prescribed burning:


  • a. The use of controlled burning to create narrow strips devoid of vegetation that will serve as a barrier to wildfires. Implement this burning only around the human settlements, agricultural farms, protected natural areas (i.e. around specific valuable objects), when danger of wildfires is great and other ways of wildfires prevention (mechanical cutting the grass, plowing) are not acceptable.

    The main difference from the harmful forms of prescribed burning – the burning is not implemented inside natural lands, it is realized only on their edge by narrow stripes. This type of prescribed burning can be considered as an acceptable compromise (a relatively small damage and risk to ecosystems to save them from fires). However, when it is possible, the other methods of creating strips avoid of plant cover should be used (digging, cutting of grass).

    This type of prescribed burning also should be registered in the prescribed burning georeferenced database in order to create opportunity to detect performers of burning that accidentally launch wildfires. For example, in Russia, exactly this type of controlled burn is implemented to protect forests from fires. But often they are implemented carelessly (with violation of safety rules, without an appropriate control). For this reason, they often lead to strong forest fires.

  • b. The use of controlled burning as a method of fighting against current wildfire (when the fire is launched on the ground to stop the movement of the coming fire). In professional terms this method is called suppression fire, back burning, burning off, and counter fire.

  • c. The use of controlled burning to restore the disturbed natural ecosystem. The method of prescribed burning can be applied for restoration of ecosystems damaged by invasive plant species. In this case the burning should be performed only once to transfer the entire ecosystem to the initial stage of succession. After the burning people should only monitor the restoration of native vegetation ad never to burn again. A method of using burning to restore ecosystems of natural forest is widely used in Finland (according to the personal report of the representative of the Finnish forest service).

    This method can be very promising, but it should be used thoughtfully, with rigorous use of scientific methods and environmental concepts. Thus, the scientific apologists of prescribed burning often declare exactly the goals of restoration of natural ecosystems to justify implementation of frequent prescribed burning in the national parks of the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa. However, usually those scientists aim to support a few plant and animal species which are supposed to receive benefits from burning. They call those species “fire-adapted species”. We believe that this approach is incorrect because they totally ignore the negative influence of frequent artificial burning on all other species of ecosystems and on other components of the biosphere.


Go back to The objectives and proposals of the campaign.


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