FIRETOOL: An Expert System for the use of Prescribed Fires in Brazilian Savannas


V. R. Pivello and G.A. Norton

Ano de Publicação


1. A prototype expert system, FIRETOOL, was developed to help decision makers and managers use prescribed burns for the ecological management of Brazilian savannas (cerrado) conservation areas. 2. The expertise necessary for producing guidelines for fire management in cerrados, that was used in FIRETOOL, came from the authors' experience, literature and an interview survey of Brazilian scientific researchers and managers of national parks and ecological reserves. 3. The knowledge was encoded in a commercial expert system shell, KnowledgePro, and auxiliary programs were used for drawing and presenting the figures. 4. FIRETOOL has four subsystems: STARTING presents the program and gives instructions on how to design a short-term burning plan; FIRERISK assesses the risk of a wildfire in the site and its likely intensity; FIREUSE estimates whether a prescribed burn is necessary and suggests the most appropriate fire regime; and PROCEDURE gives directions on basic techniques for carrying out controlled fires and for making firebreaks. 5. FIRETOOL was initially tested against the assessments of an expert on cerrado fire ecology. A few adjustments enabled the system to give assessments and rec- ommendations consistent with this expert. 6. The development of FIRETOOL allowed most of the existing information on cerrado fire ecology to be assembled, analysed and used for practical problem solving. Man- ager's difficulties were better perceived and many knowledge gaps were identified, thus giving directions to improve decision making and research. 7. A field test of the FIRETOOL knowledge base would verify its potential use as a tool for providing information on decision making of cerrado management, and for train- ing the staff of conservation areas. Key-words: cerrado ecological management, controlled burns, decision making, decision support tool, fire management. Journal of Applied Ecologv (1996) 33, 348-356

Tipo de publicação
Publicações periódicas (revistas, jornais, boletins)
Local da publicação
London - UK https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652664
Nº da edição ou volume
Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1996), pp. 348-356
British Ecological Society https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/13652664