The Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network: Bridging Indigenous Knowledge, Scientific Expertise, and Finance
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Wildfires pose a significant threat to landscapes worldwide, with devastating consequences for biodiversity, communities, and the environment. Recognizing the urgency of addressing this issue, the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network has been launched to bring together indigenous knowledge, scientific expertise, and the financial sector. This innovative collaboration aims to develop tools and financial mechanisms to support the creation of resilient landscapes and tackle the increasing problem of wildfires in fire-prone areas.
The Need for Collaboration
Wildfire prevention and landscape management require substantial investments to mitigate risks effectively. Currently, these costs are primarily covered by public subsidies, which are often insufficient to address the scale of the problem. To scale up investments, harness new technologies, and design resistant and resilient landscapes, private-public partnerships and private finance are crucial. The Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network seeks to bridge this gap by involving the finance industry in the development of innovative financial tools.
Linking Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge
The inspiration behind the founding of the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network came from the interest of His Majesty King Charles III in linking Australia’s indigenous fire experts with Canadian experts. The goal is to share best practices and combine traditional knowledge with scientific expertise to develop effective wildfire management strategies. By leveraging indigenous fire management practices, which have been passed down through generations, the network aims to create resilient landscapes that can withstand the threat of wildfires.
Living Labs: Demonstrating Resilient Landscape Creation
One of the key initiatives of the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network is the development of “living labs.” These labs will serve as practical demonstrations of how to create resilient landscapes in fire-prone areas. By showcasing the successful implementation of wildfire management strategies, the network aims to inspire and educate communities worldwide. These living labs will showcase the integration of indigenous knowledge, scientific research, and technological advancements to create landscapes that can effectively mitigate the risk of wildfires.
Financial Tools for Resilient Landscapes
The Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network recognizes the importance of financial resources in implementing effective wildfire management strategies. To generate investment for the transition to resilient landscapes, the network aims to work closely with the finance industry. One of the key areas of focus is the development of innovative financial tools, particularly around emerging nature markets. These tools can unlock private finance opportunities, such as carbon markets and potentially future biodiversity markets, to support the creation of resilient landscapes.
The Success of Savanna Fire Management
The savanna fire management program in northern Australia serves as an excellent example of how indigenous knowledge can be leveraged to create financial tools that generate income for indigenous communities while supporting resilient landscapes. Through the program, traditional fire management practices have been combined with carbon markets to generate carbon credits. This approach not only creates market-based jobs in remote and vulnerable communities but also contributes to biodiversity conservation, food security, and improved health outcomes.
Establishment and Collaboration
The Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network will be established under the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat. This collaborative effort will bring together a diverse range of stakeholders, including the International Savanna Fire Management Initiative (ISFMI) and FIRE-RES. The ISFMI will contribute unique indigenous knowledge and experience in wildfire risk management, while FIRE-RES will provide scientific expertise to inform decision-making processes.
Commonwealth’s Commitment to Wildfire Resilience
The Commonwealth Secretariat, represented by the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has expressed its commitment to this timely collaboration on wildfire resilience. The Commonwealth’s climate work is rooted in knowledge sharing, capacity development, and the promotion of climate-resilient and sustainable land management. By contributing to the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network, the Commonwealth aims to support critical access to climate finance and facilitate progress on the ground.
The Role of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance
The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, led by CEO Marc Palahí, will host the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network. Building on the success of their Living Labs, the Alliance aims to connect the dots between science, indigenous knowledge, and the financial sector. By enabling a holistic approach to creating wildfire-resilient landscapes, this collaborative endeavor aligns with nature protection, climate adaptation, and mitigation efforts. As global leaders gather to address climate action at COP28, the network’s establishment represents a significant step towards embedding resilience and protecting ecosystems.
The formation of the Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network marks a crucial milestone in addressing the growing threat of wildfires globally. By combining indigenous knowledge, scientific expertise, and financial resources, this collaborative effort aims to create resilient landscapes that can effectively mitigate the risks associated with wildfires. Through the development of innovative financial tools and the establishment of living labs, the network will demonstrate the tangible benefits of integrating traditional practices and cutting-edge technologies. With the support of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance and the Commonwealth Secretariat, this initiative has the potential to drive meaningful change and pave the way for a more sustainable future.