Webinar: 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), BelgiumHe 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.

Download the presentation “Urban forests as a Nature Based Solution to mitigate climate change and to reduce pollution: What is the scientific evidence?”, by Prof. Francesc Baró.

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.

Download the presentation “Life UrbanGreeningPlans: Designing innovative mechanisms to plan, implement, strengthen and manage green infrastructures in (peri)urban areas”, by Teresa Pastor.

Get to know the speakers!

Riccardo Gini – Director Parco Nord Milano

Riccardo Giniis the director of Parco Nord Milano. As such he is in charge of a Protected Area of 40 employees and as many collaborators. Part of his function is dealing with the planning and coordination of the Parco Nord construction operations. Riccardo is an agronomist and apart from agricultural projects, he has worked in the redevelopment of natural spaces and Urban Rehabilitation Programs.

Maria Chiara Pastore – Scientific Director Forestami

Maria Chiara Pastore (1980) is an Assistant Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, where she obtained a PhD in Spatial Planning and urban Development. Her research interests are mainly focused on water and sanitation in relation to city’s development, urban planning in Africa, adaptive planning in relation to rapid growing cities, and Urban Forestry. Her recent work includes an improved green system in the Greater Milan 2030, Forestami (Milano 2030) and the Urban Forestry plan in Prato, Italy.

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.

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