Under this program, PROGREEN supports sustainable forest landscape planning and management to address the risks associated with forest fires in Algeria.
Although Algeria is rich in biodiversity, nearly 51% of the country’s flora is threatened with extinction due to high pressure on natural resources, leading to severe deforestation and degradation. The impacts of climate change have further exaggerated these threats and in recent years forest fires, caused by climatic factors and anthropic activities, have become a major hazard. These forest fires contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, disrupt or degrade ecosystem services, and negatively impact people's livelihoods.
The most recent forest fires in Algeria destroyed vast swaths of lands, killed at least 65 people, and impacted the country’s tourism industry. A 2021 World Bank diagnostic highlighted that (i) more than 99% of Algeria’s wooded areas are at risk; (ii) fire events have been increasing since 2010, with the forest fire monitoring season now extending through until the end of November as opposed to the end of October; and (iii) from 2010-2019, the annual forest fires average stood at 3,000 outbreaks over an area of approximately 32,000 ha. Forest fires cost the country between 15 to 19 million USD in losses through the commercial value of wood and cork, and in 2020, forest fire victims received approximately six million USD in compensation.
The Government of Algeria is committed to protecting its forests. Reforestation and sustainable development are recognized as a priority in different government programs and the country has an ambitious Forest Strategy 2035: “to serve the social, economic and environmental needs of the country, creating sustainable employment and income while contributing to improving the resilience of the natural environment to climate change”. Moreover, Algeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC, 2015) commits to “afforestation, reforestation and prevention of forest fires as well as improving means to fight them”. PROGREEN activities will support the Government of Algeria in building institutional and technical capacity for sustainable forest management, including direct support in effective forest fire management approaches and practices.
- Analytical review of the National Strategy for Sustainable Forest Management 2035
- Institutional capacity assessment and stakeholder analysis
- Recommendations to develop a national forest fire early warning system including forecasting and monitoring at landscape level
- Consultation and engagement process to better inform the development of a national forest fire early warning system
- Technical assistance, capacity building and knowledge exchanges at both national and regional levels to reinforce SFM