Urban forestry as a Nature Based Solution to mitigate climate change and reduce pollution
On the occasion of the EU Green Week 2021, EUROPARC, in collaboration with Parco Nord Milano (Italy), organised a webinar focused on urban forestry as a Nature Based Solution (NBS) to mitigate climate change and reduce pollution. The webinar was a partner event for the EU Green Week which focused on “ZERO POLLUTION for healthier people and planet”.
Nature Based Solutions are solutions to environmental, social and economic challenges inspired, and/or supported by nature. This webinar explored specifically the innovative NBS of ‘urban forestry’. Urban forestry focuses on the care and management of trees in the urban environment. As such, it answers to the European goal of improving the restoration of degraded ecosystems, which then strengthens their resilience. Additionally, it supports the delivery of vital ecosystem services and contributes to cities green growth, which fosters citizen well-being.
Webinar summary and presentations
The session was opened by Riccardo Gini, Director at Parco Nord Milano. Besides welcoming the participants, Mr. Gini also used the opportunity to launch the KlimatFest 2021.
The first case study was presented by Francesc Baró, Urban environmental scientist currently appointed as Assistant Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium. He spoke about the scientific evidence of benefits, but also about potential drawbacks of urban forestry. He highlighted that urban forests can directly offset or even avoid green-house-gas emissions in cities, but on the other hand, there is a risk of increased and more concentrated air pollution if trees are planted in narrow street canyons. Mr. Baró emphasised that effectiveness of urban forestry as a nature-based solution is always dependent on many factors – as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Afterwards, Maria Chiara Pastore, Scientific Director of Forestami, Italy, presented the ambitious forestry plan set up by the City of Milano: to plant 1 Million Trees by 2030. In her presentation, Ms. Pastore explained how is the plan being implemented in practice, what are the biggest challenges and how this initiative could serve as inspiration for other cities.
The webinar was concluded by Teresa Pastor, Project and Policy Development Manager at EUROPARC Federation. In her presentation, she publicly launched the Life UrbanGreeningPlans Project titled “Designing innovative mechanisms to plan, implement, strengthen and manage green infrastructures in (peri)urban areas”. The two-years long project is led by Brussels Environment, and taken forward by 7 partners – including EUROPARC Federation. The project aims to enable local policy makers and greenspace managers of the 5 participating cities to design and demonstrate innovative mechanisms to increase the overall presence of biodiversity in their territories.
Get to know the speakers!
Maria Chiara Pastore – Scientific Director Forestami
Francesc Baró – (Urban) environmental scientist, Assistant Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium
Francesc Baró is an (urban) environmental scientist currently appointed as Assistant Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium; he is also an affiliated senior researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB), Spain. His research is motivated by making cities inclusive, healthy, livable, resilient and sustainable for all
Teresa Pastor – Project Manager at EUROPARC
Teresa is the former Coordinator of Fedenatur and, after its integration with EUROPARC, is currently in charge of the Periurban dossier. Additionally, Teresa will be EUROPARC’s project manager for the LIFE PeriurbanGreeningPlans that is to start this year. She is based in EUROPARC’s Barcelona office and brings a huge knowledge on nature conservation and marine issues to the EUROPARC directorate
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This webinar has received funding from the LIFE programme of the European Union.