Official document on fires

The Sicilian Agroecology Coordination is the spontaneous movement, made up of associations, bodies, researchers, sector professionals and ordinary citizens, which since 2017 has addressed issues related to the agro-forestry-pastoral world, in order to contribute to a substantial revision of these systems, both from an ecological and social point of view.
In 2023 the Coordination became a Third Sector Body with regular establishment and registration and for 2025, in addition to the various activities, it has already planned the 1st Mediterranean Agroecology Congress, which will be held in Agrigento, in which the 23 countries will participate interested.
The work carried out so far, also in collaboration with researchers and various bodies, has produced notable documents and results, especially in the direction of meetings, debates, conferences, draft laws (both at national and regional level), laws, etc.
Not least among these is law 21 of 29 July 2021 of the Sicilian Region which, first signed by the Hon. Valentina Palmeri, has become the first norm and, in some ways, the reference, at a European level, of the agroecological provisions within the Green Deal.
Law 21/2021 concerning “the protection of health, the natural environment, biodiversity and ecosystems and agricultural activities; the fight against desertification, hydrogeological risk and fires; an agro-silvo-pastoral model compliant with the criteria of agroecology” was designed, structured and unanimously approved by the Sicilian Regional Assembly, with the aim of speeding up the transition towards an agro-silvo-pastoral system compliant with all indications that have emerged, in recent decades, both from Intergovernmental Conferences (including Agenda 2030) and from European directives and strategies (including Farm to Fork and Biodiversity 2030).
As can be seen, already from the title of the law, among the various objectives that of the transition towards the agroecological system represents a notable protection against “… hydrogeological risk and fires…”, precisely because, supported by considerable scientific literature on the subject, the The agroecological approach, with all the resulting ecological and social dynamics, represents the real pivot on which to manage in a more efficient manner, also from a financial point of view, these two areas which are much more connected than they appear on the surface.
Without going into the scientific merit of the issue, on which we have collected indications from the entire panorama of experiences both at a global and Sicilian level, we are further working on this (among others) great emergency which involves not only the ecological and rural systems but the the entire Sicilian population.
We have ascertained and, consequently, translated into legislative provisions, how directly related they are:
– loss of soil fertility (in terms of organic substance and microorganisms);
– decrease in agricultural and natural biodiversity (with the related biocenotic relationships);
– degradation of most rural areas, both in sociological and ecological terms.
This very high correlation, which can be documented in possible future contributions, conferences and regulatory proposals, indicates to us that the issue of fires cannot be addressed separately from the need for a reconversion of the rural world and the economies and sociologies related to it.
Just think, among others, of the gradual but increasingly worrying transformation (precisely in ecological and social terms) that silvopastoral systems have undergone (which represent a fundamental function in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, with a better autotrophic/autotrophic balance heterotrophs), in improving the adaptability of livestock to climate changes and in the nutritional quality of livestock products (Paris P. et al. 2019).
Or to the agroforestry systems that have represented for centuries those transition areas between natural forest systems and rural areas. An alteration of these balances could not fail to affect, in a negative sense, both the sociological models of the populations (with all the aberrations, including those of a criminal nature) and the ecological balances of many areas of the Sicilian territory (with a malfunction of the agricultural or natural (Prigogine I., Nicolis G. 1982).
The result is that it is not only necessary measures in the direction of the prevention and control of fires (which have often, erroneously, even by several government sources, been emphasized as a panacea to the problem), but a full-bodied programme, not only in financial terms but above all in political and, therefore, structural terms which allows the much mentioned ecological transition of which, in the field of fires, agroecology represents the system of greatest ecological and social guarantee.
Unfortunately, the entire national debate (with the necessary exceptions, of which in Sicily we are obviously second to none) has often seen the topic develop in very other directions: drones, military systems, satellites, surveillance, etc. The latter must instead be seen as the completion of a new ecological, rural and social structure and not as preordained protection factors: it is an error of unforgivable scientific and technical deficiency.
Global warming, loss of biodiversity, hydrogeological risk, abandonment of internal areas, social degradation, etc. they are the effects of a much more complex equation (but no less explainable and solvable) whose solution cannot be addressed with a reductionist approach which, unfortunately, is easy to propagate even in political and electoral terms.
The Coordination is continuing to work on the issue of fires, thanks also to the presence within it of technicians and researchers from the three Sicilian universities (Palermo, Catania and Messina) and CREA.
We are aware that the fire issue (especially with climate change and the current 2024 drought) will probably be even more devastating (we hope to be contradicted) in the years to come. But the solutions have only one direction: changing the current relationship between human ecology and natural ecology: that Integral Ecology (which is also well argued from a scientific, as well as sociological, point of view by Pope Francis) from which everything must descend: norms , directions, objectives… future.
Unfortunately, even today, we note how the PNRR itself has a highly insufficient and inefficient structure on the matter, underlining an economic vision which is the very denial of the problem and which still goes in the direction of a linear rather than circular economy.
We therefore ask, beyond the work we are continuing and refining, to completely change (as we have highlighted to the various ARS deputies and other representatives of the institutional world) the political approach to the issue and, therefore, the systems and parameters of action. In this direction, the issuing of the same implementing decree of the Regional Law. 21/2021 (which still has not been signed after more than two years) is a first step towards fighting fires.

Official preliminary document on Fires

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