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ULE professor wins prestigious award in fire ecology

ULE professor wins prestigious award in fire ecology

University of León Professor José Manuel Fernández Gesuraga received the Early Career Award in Fire Science from the International Wildland Fire Association at the 7th International Conference on Fire Behavior and Fuels, held in Tralee (Ireland).

Aimed at active researchers who are under 40 years of age at the time of submitting their nomination and nominated by a large number of senior researchers with recognized careers, this award is the most prestigious award in the field of fire ecology research worldwide, representing outstanding recognition for an early-career scientist. Professionally for his distinguished abilities and high international achievements in the field of forest fire science.

José Manuel Fernandez holds a degree in Environmental Sciences from ULE, with a National Terminal Degree Award, and a PhD in Functional and Applied Ecology from the same university, with an Exceptional Doctorate Award. He is currently Assistant Professor of Excellence in Ecology at ULE, and belongs to the research group “Applied Ecology and Remote Sensing (GEAT)” led by Leonor Calvo.

His main lines of research focus on using state-of-the-art remote sensing techniques to assess the ecological impacts of wildfires in fire-prone Mediterranean ecosystems, both at the community and landscape levels. She is also interested in assessing how changes in forest fire regimes modify the functioning of ecosystems in the Mediterranean.

In the past five years, he has participated in more than ten competitively funded research projects, two of which he was the principal investigator, and has published more than 40 indexed articles. These works, developed in collaboration with members of the GEAT group, have had a significant impact on the scientific community and on the management of ecosystems in the Mediterranean.

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Some methodologies published in high-impact journals have allowed the development of a cloud-based application, “Firemap,” which will allow public managers to automatically assess the environmental impact of wildfires on ecosystems and post-fire vegetation recovery pathways.

Members of the GEAT group are now immersed in the development of several projects “that will certainly represent a major advance in wildfire science worldwide, even more so in the context of the current challenges posed by extreme fires,” Fernández Gesuraga noted. Fire events for the resilience of ecosystems and the safety of people and their property.