One of the projects we would like to highlight involves French technology to prevent the risk of forest fires. Company Aria Technologies specializes in information and satellite monitoring systems and intends to bring to Brazil a solution that has already been implemented in many European countries, especially in Portugal and Spain. The pilot project will be implemented in Santa Catarina, together with members of the Association of Forestry Companies from the State of Santa Catarina (ACR) and will reduce the impact of forest fires on GHG emissions from forest fires. ARIA FIRESC is the system to be utilized, which integrates two forecasting modules: Risk and Propagation.

Further information on the technology and the project is available below, in an interview with Samya Pinheiro, from Aria Technologies of Brazil.

>Samya de Lara Pinheiro, a Meteorologist and Project Manager at ARIA Technologies of Brazil

1. How does ARIA operate and when did it arrive in Brazil?

ARIA was founded in 1990, in France, dedicating itself to study the atmospheric environment in regard to pollutants and air quality. Over the years, our team of experts extended their concerns to environmental modelling as a whole. Then in 2005 the company’s French headquarters decided to invest in the development of support systems to fight forest fires, both to develop modelling solutions to deal with that phenomenon within the short term and also to promote planning and prevention. Albeit in a Research and Development context and counting on of the support of European platform OASIS, which offers risk prevention tools for the insurance sector, that area was developed until the solution reached the market by 2014. We arrived in Brazil in 2010, also focused on studying the atmospheric environment, and particularly the numeric simulation of air pollutant dispersion at the industrial, risk and accident, and urban area levels. Today, as regard the risk of forest fires we have identified a growing demand, including from governmental institutions, to protect preservation areas. We are already holding discussions with the State of Ceará. In the private sector, the focus has been directed to the protection of planted areas.

2. Tell us a little about the project with the Association of Forestry Companies from the State of Santa Catarina?

ARIA of Brazil had already established an interface with the pulp and paper market, and in 2012 we had already implemented a pilot project with a company from the State of Paraná, in order to evaluate the forest fire scenario in areas planted with eucalyptus. And then, through the matchmakings organized by Low Carbon Brazil, we found the Association of Forestry Companies from the State of Santa Catarina. A curious thing is that when we thought about presenting solutions for the region of Santa Catarina, the forest fire fighting issue was not our first choice, and thanks to that approximation it has been possible to place that issue as a protagonist in our agenda. When we talk about Pine and Eucalyptus plantations, the impact of a forest fire is economically very relevant. The solution we intend to develop is based on a modelling system, which works with the concept of scenarios. The operational one, which based on a fire source identification, processes the propagation of a forest fire and helps an institution fight an eventual fire, and the planning scenario, which involves an approach gathering vegetation management strategies to minimize risks and avoid that a fire reaches a certain area. All of the modules are run based on models consolidated in a number of experiments conducted by many researchers from all over the world.

3. Is this fire prevention technology already used, and in which countries?

Yes, a lot, and especially in Portugal, Spain, the United States and Australia. By the way, the technology we use today in our projects has been developed in the United States, due to their history of forest fires.

4. Portugal has a huge forest fire problem. Have studies already been undertaken in that region? Is it possible to mention any forest fire reduction percentage in that country?

In Portugal, the University of Lisbon has already undertaken some studies in the last decade on forest fires based on the same models we apply in our systems and solutions. It is hard to mention a percentage, because each context is unique, due both to local vegetation and weather conditions. Spain has adopted vegetation management strategies based on forest fire propagation simulations and, in absolute numbers, in 2016 they achieved the lowest level of burnt areas in the last 30 years.

5. Today, in Brazil, what are the areas under greater risk of forest fires?

We have identified an area comprising the entire Central-Western region and some areas in the Northern part of the country. That is the backbone of forest fires in Brazil, which hinders production and is a problem to agricultural and farming enterprises, and also contributes to pollution in the cities. In those areas we have also stressed the impact on the electric sector, due to the transmission lines, which when affected by a fire might impair the National System’s operation.

6. How do you see the EU’S initiative to implement the Low Carbon Brazil project?

It is a very important opportunity we have, together with Low Carbon Brazil, because it approximates us to a market that requires solutions, and which is concerned with issues involving climate change. The agribusiness market has been acting to protect itself. It is rather curious and rewarding that during one of the matchmakings we found another new partner to work with us in the project with that Association from the State of Santa Catarina, GeoDesign, a company from California specialized in satellite based solutions. They will offer input data to identify local vegetation patches.

7. You’ve had other projects approved by Low Carbon Brazil, I guess, and could you quickly tell us about them and what are their main purposes?

Yes, we have. One with company Ambidados, from Rio de Janeiro, which involves a market study dedicated to the agribusiness sector in order to develop environmental monitoring for irrigation systems. The idea is to act on the decision-making process when irrigating areas, while also paying attention to the weather forecast factor. That study will also indicate which parameters are essential and decisive when monitoring an area, in addition to the impact on water stress in every crop. Another project we have been working on involves company UniSafe, from the city of Londrina, and involves a viability study for seasonal weather forecasts, with forecasts covering 6 months and 1 year. In this project we also count on support from CMCC, an Italian company specialized in climate models, and which will evaluate the predictability of meteorological indicators deemed relevant for the agribusiness sector.

EU Partner Programmes