¡Hola! My name is Carmen Rodríguez, and I am from Spain, and within Pyrolife I am also known as ESR1. I am doing my research on the potential of social innovation to increase wildfire resilience in Mediterranean socio-ecological systems. I am part of the Governance team at EFI Bonn (Germany), and I am a PhD candidate at KU Leuven (Belgium). The first one of my two secondments will take place in Lisbon (Portugal), hosted by Águas de Portugal, and the second one in Athens (Greece) with Démeter.
My background is on forestry engineering, but with my master thesis I already started focusing my work on the social sciences: While working with the University of Göttingen (Germany), I studied the international forest regime complex. In 2016 I started working for EFIMED and CTFC on issues linked to the Mediterranean bioeconomy, the FP7 StarTree project on NTFPs and the H2020 SIMRA project, which explored social innovation processes in rural areas. It was in the frame of the SIMRA project where I first got in touch with the social innovation concept, which I used to study the Forest Defence Groups (ADFs, for their Catalan Acronym) as an example of social innovation mainly engaged with wildfire prevention and suppression activities.
Joining Pyrolife has been an excellent opportunity to actively engage with other PhD candidates with similar interests and ideas but who look at fire from completely different angles, as well as getting a first row seat to hear some of the world leading experts in fire science and engaging in very interesting discussions. I feel particularly privileged to be part of a project who puts so much emphasis on transdisciplinary, and where social scientists get training on biophysical aspects of fire, and natural scientists get to learn how socio-economic aspects play a key role in achieving the goal of “living with wildfires”.
My research with PyroLife will focus on understanding the relationship between social innovation and wildfire resilience. Understanding that social dialogue and good governance are crucial in facing the current wildfire challenge that we have upon us, with my research I am at putting forward a renewed view to the fire issue, while highlighting that wildfires are in fact one of the many consequences of the interlinked societal and ecological challenges that global change poses to modern societies.