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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Pablo Souza-Alonso; Beatriz Omil; Alexandre Sotelino; David García-Romero; Eugenio Otero-Urtaza; Mar Lorenzo Moledo; Otilia Reyes; Juan Carlos Rodríguez; Javier Madrigal; Daniel Moya; Juan Ramón Molina Martínez; Francisco Rodríguez y Silva; Agustín Merino
Publication Date: 2024

Background: Forest fires represent a severe threat to Mediterranean ecosystems and are considered one of the major environmental and socioeconomic problems of the region. The project Plantando cara al fuego (PCF, Spain) is designed to transfer knowledge and to improve the training of new generations in forest fire management. The project is based on the application of service-learning (S-L), an educational methodology that combines learning and community service. Conceived as a compendium of S-L initiatives, the PCF project is composed of several S-L projects with the objective of reducing the problem of forest fires. The individual projects are developed at the regional/local level, each one involving different social agents such as researchers, students (from different disciplines), schools, multidisciplinary professionals, NGOs, or the administration.

Results: Participants received an initial training in S-L to design projects focused on different aspects of forest fires (environmental awareness, outreach/communication, fire prevention or post-fire restoration). These applied projects are formally integrated in the learning process via curriculum, which serve to teach and reinforce transversal skills and allow students to get involved and work to solve real problems. In general, the response of the participants was highly favorable, since the projects served to create an atmosphere that facilitates learning, interaction between participants, the application of theoretical class contents, knowledge transfer, or the exchange of good teaching practices.

Conclusions: The summary of the PCF project presented in this work serves as a practical guide describing the activities, participants, and the necessary steps involved in the design, development, and evaluation of S-L projects to address environmental problems. In this case, the S-L was adapted to a specific context (i.e., the problem of forest fires) to which it had never been previously applied, but this methodology is versatile and can be applied to different environmental issues.

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Citation: Souza-Alonso, Pablo; Omil, Beatriz; Sotelino, Alexandre; García-Romero, David; Otero-Urtaza, Eugenio; Moledo, Mar Lorenzo; Reyes, Otilia; Rodríguez, Juan Carlos; Madrigal, Javier; Moya, Daniel; Molina, Juan Ramón; Rodriguez y Silva, Francisco; Merino, Agustín. 2024. Service-learning to improve training, knowledge transfer, and awareness in forest fire management. Fire Ecology 20:19.

Cataloging Information

  • education
  • educational innovation
  • environmental awareness
  • fire management
  • firefighting
  • forest conservation
  • knowledge transfer
  • peer tutors
  • service learning
  • social engagement
  • Spain
  • student training
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 69102