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A tree awakening – join us in celebrating urban trees on 11 June

Three recently awarded ‘Tree Ci3ties of the World’; City of Ljubljana, Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and Brussels Capital Region are taking the lead on promoting the crucial role of urban trees towards greener and more resilient cities and urban regions. Urban trees and forests provide vital infrastructure for healthy and happy citizens, protecting and enhancing biodiversity and co-creating a climate-adapted built environment. The three cities and regions differ in character but have demonstrated a commitment to urban trees within the framework of urban forestry, green infrastructure and the enhancement of local ecosystem services. 

Calling it a ‘tree awakening’ and as a partner event of the EU Green Week, the  European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF), European Forest Institute (EFI) and CLEARING HOUSE project, bring together these three cities and regions to kick-off an activity – focus – celebration of trees on June 11, 10:30-12:30 CEST and to build and strengthen existing relationships at a continental level. The 2-hour interactive online event is targeted at practitioners, researchers, policymakers, journalists and citizens eager to explore ways to work together towards a greener and more resilient future in cities around Europe and beyond.

‘A tree on your doorstep is a forest in your mind’ – building and strengthening awareness about Urban Forests in European cities and regions.

Urban forest close to Cologne, Germany (photo: Gesche Schifferdecker)

Urban trees and forests are a biodiversity hub and enhance the resilience of urban areas in the face of a climate crisis with administrations increasingly pressured to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Through their normal biotic activity trees are a valuable tool for climate mitigation and adaptation but also help to increase social cohesion, health and well-being and thus improve the quality of life for all living beings. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly turning towards urban green spaces. However, life in the city is not always easy for trees, and urban tree care remains a significant challenge for those managing cities. The effect of urban green on the well-being of people has long been underestimated, resulting in constricted root systems and harsh living conditions for trees in cities. Caring for, respecting, and ensuring a long lifetime of a city tree is, now more than ever, crucial to ensure it develops its ecosystem potential.

The free online event will be opened by Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of Resilience at the European Forest Institute (EFI), followed by Maria Beatrice Andreucci, adjunct professor and researcher at the department for Design, Planning and Architectural Technology at the Sapienza University of Rome. High-level representatives from the European Union will be joined by the ‘Tree Cities of the World’ representatives from Slovenia, Spain, Belgium and international urban forestry experts.

Thomas Randrup, professor in Urban Open Space Management and Head of Subject for Landscape Governance and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) will shed light on the importance of moving from Nature-Based Solutions to Nature-Based Thinking. Simone Borelli, Agroforestry and Urban/Periurban Forestry Officer at the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), will speak on the ‘Tree Cities of the World’. Cecil. C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch, global urban forester and director of the Nature-Based Solutions Institute (NBSI), will present the 3-30-300 rule.

During an interactive Q&A session, you as participants will have the opportunity to engage in discussions with the speakers. The speaker and Q&A session will be moderated by John Parker, Technical Director at the Arboricultural Association.

A technical panel discussion moderated by Clive Davies, Convener of the EFUF International Steering Group, Senior Researcher, Advisor and Facilitator at European Forest Institute (EFI) Governance and Resilience Programmes and CLEARING HOUSE project, will explore the opportunities and challenges of managing trees in cities. The virtual stage will feature insights Nejc Praznik, Consulting Arborist / Andrej Verlič, Nature Conservation Councillor at JP VOKA SNAGA, Valérie Decoux, Bio-Engineer at the Brussels Mobility, Public Service of the Brussels Capital Region and Antoni Farrero, General Coordinator of the Technical Office of Management of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB).

To round off the ‘tree awakening’ and to involve the public, attendees and urban adventurers are invited to explore trees and forests around the City of Ljubljana, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Brussels Capital Region from anywhere around the globe or in-situ to as a self-guided tree discovery excursion to learn about the manifold opportunities and challenges of managing trees in cities.

Following the online event, there will be a call-to-action from high-level city representatives for other urban regions around Europe to step up towards recognizing, building awareness, communicating and taking ownership of the benefits of urban trees for all living being in a city.

Please register via Eventbrite and save your seat:

Featured image: Gesche Schifferdecker


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