Apply Knowledge Globally

Sharing fire ecology expertise with Turkey

Group photo on stairs in front of office building.
Sharon Hood and Kevin Ryan (front row, 2nd and 3rd from left) and researchers from the Southwest Anatolia Forest Research Institute, General Directorate of Forestry. Photo courtesy Turkish General Directorate of Forestry.

COLORADO—Researchers with the Southwest Anatolia Forest Research Institute, General Directorate of Forestry, recently hosted two fire researchers from the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire, Fuel and Smoke program. Research ecologist Sharon Hood and retired research forester Kevin Ryan spent nine days travelling in Turkey and discussing management of Pinus brutia, or Turkish red pine, forests after fire. The Forest Research Institute invited Hood and Ryan to share their expertise on fire ecology. There are hundreds of wildfires in Turkey annually and both foresters and researchers there are trying to better understand how Pinus brutia is adapted to fire and to identify appropriate post-fire management options. Pine forests in Turkey are important for commercial wood products, as well as ecosystem services, and there is the concern that climate change-driven changes in wildfire may cause a transition from pine forests to chaparral shrublands.

Hood and Ryan presented information to hosts Coşkun Okan Güney and Aylin Güney, as well as colleagues from the Forest Research Institute, on post-fire tree mortality modelling, fire and bark beetle interactions, silviculture and prescribed fire applications for fire management planning, and post-fire vegetation dynamics based on fire regimes. In turn, Turkish researchers presented their expertise on Turkey’s forests and fires. Hood and Ryan worked closely with 10 researchers from the institute during the trip as well as meeting several regional forest directors. As a group, they participated in several site visits to see recent fires and discussed ongoing and potential future collaborative research studies. They also visited Turkey’s new International Forestry Training Center and Firefighter Training Simulator.

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey funded the trip through its Fellowships for Visiting Scientists and Scientists on Sabbatical Leave. The USDA Forest Service and the Turkish government signed a letter of intent in 2014 to highlight areas of mutual interest, including wildfire management, climate change and slowing desertification.

Group of people in recently burned forest.
The team visits a recent burned area that is the site of a Pinus brutia post-fire mortality study. Photo courtesy Turkish General Directorate of Forestry.