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Category: Urban Forestry

The city of contrasts: Learning about forests and trees in Industriewald and Rheinelbepark in Gelsenkirchen

Establishing the first marteloscope in an Urban Forest and discovering the transition of Gelsenkirchen

How do marteloscopes – these forest demonstration sites, where all trees are mapped and measured – and Gelsenkirchen, a city located in the so-called Ruhrpott fit together? You might be surprised that after being known as the “City of Thousand Fires” characterised by the coal, iron, and steel industry, and being a target of several air raids during World War II, Gelsenkirchen went through different economic and social changes. To boost its attractiveness for citizens, the city is now “shaping” its sustainability, investing in solar energy and converting numerous former mining sites into small city parks and urban forests [1]. The city of Gelsenkirchen is also a partner in the CLEARINGHOUSE project, which connects China and Europe and explores the potential of Urban Forests for more liveable cities. And as part of this big international project, we – four researchers from European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office – established two new marteloscopes in the Urban Forest in Gelsenkirchen. This was not only an interesting experience because they were the first marteloscope sites we set up in urban forests, but also because of the vegetation and the fact, that these forests are not used for wood production.

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Topic-specific thematic guidelines on urban forestry as a nature based solution (UF-NBS) – Opportunities for authors

The CLEARING HOUSE project addresses a global challenge that unites European and Chinese cities in their quest to develop more resilient cities and liveable societies in…

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Greener, less mortality: The ranking of European Cities

Written by Gabriela Grigorita

Half the world’s population lives in cities and this is likely to increase to 70% over the next 20 years. Cities provide jobs, are centers of innovation and wealth creation, but also often are hotspots of air pollution (e.g. particulate matter, NO2), noise, heat and disease. It is well known that the high density of buildings and roads may cause the so-called urban heat island, defined as build-up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. Furthermore, cities often lack accessible green space and physical activity levels of people are below recommended guidelines. They also generate a large proportion of CO2 emissions and contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Recent estimates show that 60%-80% of final energy use globally is consumed by urban areas and more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced within urban areas.

Up to 9 million people die each year because of ambient air pollution levels, 3.2 million because of lack of physical activity and 1.2 million because of traffic accidents. Noise causes more than 1.8 million deaths a year in Europe alone and heat may cause as much as around 0.4% of premature mortality annually worldwide. Population growth, aging and the climate crisis put a further burden on cities in many aspects, including health.

A team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has identified European cities with the highest and lowest death rates attributable to a lack of green space. The team analyzed more than 1,000 cities of over 100,000 residents in 31 European countries. The results were published in The Lancet Planetary Health and concluded that up to 43,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year if these cities met the World Health Organization’s guidelines on housing proximity to green space.

Green spaces bring a long range of benefits to our health, including lower premature mortality, longer life expectancy, fewer mental health problems, fewer cardiovascular diseases, better cognitive functioning in children and healthier seniors and babies. As we all know, green also helps mitigate air pollution, heat and noise levels, help capture CO2, and provide opportunities for exercise and social interaction.

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„Grüne Infrastrukturen gemeinsam gestalten“: CLEARING HOUSE Workshop in Gelsenkirchen

Wissen Sie, was „grüne Infrastrukturen“ sind? Und welche Rolle sie in Städten spielen (sollten)? Was theoretisch und trocken klingt, sieht in der Praxis recht bunt aus: Parks und andere grüne Oasen in der Stadt gehören dazu, urban gardening-Projekte und Naturschutzgebiete. Ebenso die Linde vor unserer Tür und der Schmetterlingsflieder, der an der Autobahnauffahrt blüht.

Aber sind unsere Städte grün genug? Und profitieren alle Bürger*innen davon oder nur bestimmte Gruppen? Diskutieren Sie mit uns am 9. September 2021 im “Grünlabor” in Gelsenkirchen (Programm hier)!

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Do you know an urban green space where prescriptions in nature take place? Take our survey!

The European Forest Institute (EFI), ETIFOR and the University of British Columbia launched a survey on a Market Outlook on Urban Green Care. This research…

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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.

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Forests as critical infrastructure? Integrated Forest Management and recreation for forests and people – Virtual Excursion during the Urban Forestry Days 23-24 March

How to bring more than 600 policy planners, decision-makers, practitioners, researchers and urban forestry enthusiasts into the forest in times of social distancing? The first day of the Urban Forestry Days (23 – 24 March 2021) held a special highlight for the participants, who joined from over 68 countries all around the globe. The two-day collaborative event of integrated Urban Forestry activities was hosted by the European Forest Institute (EFI), the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) and the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project.

“Public involvement and engagement bring valuable information to decision-making processes”,

Renate Späth

After a day packed with the latest urban forestry developments, insights on integrated forest management and lively discussions about the role of urban forests for co-creating more sustainable cities, a virtual excursion brought the participants right into Kottenforst. Located in the southwest of Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia, the 4.000 hectares peri-urban forest area serves as a stage to enjoy nature, recreate, meet people and engage in discussions. A group of urban forestry experts accompanied the visual experience. While live-commenting the virtual excursion, they shed light on environmental education, microhabitats, marteloscopes and the importance of enabling and enhancing dialogue about forests and forest policy. As part of a Q&A session, facilitator Maria Schloßmacher (EFI) encouraged participants to share their thoughts and ask questions directly to the experts.

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