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Tag: Urban Forestry

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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Glimpsing through the trees – Round of introductions to projects on urban green space, trees, and human health and well-being

On the second day of the Urban Forestry Days (23 – 24 March 2021), policy planners, decision-makers, practitioners and researchers from all around the globe gathered online to explore the role of urban forests for health infrastructure. 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 and welcomed 750 unique participants from over 68 different countries. The afternoon session on projects exploring linkages between urban green spaces, trees, and human health and well-being invited participants to glimpse through the trees and learn about projects fostering urban green space development.

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Uwe Schölmerich: a tribute by EFI Bonn

In January 2021, our esteemed colleague Uwe Schölmerich, Head of the State Forest Enterprise Rhein-Sieg-Erft from the regional forest service “Wald und Holz NRW” retired. This blogpost is a retrospective on our fruitful collaboration with a forest manager who was rightly described by his colleagues as “deeply dedicated to both the forest and people”. 

When EFI opened a new office in Bonn in 2017, the few employees had little to no affiliation to their new surroundings, let alone to the forests in that region. As the former capital of Western Germany and a bustling hub of international organisations, Bonn was a strategic location more than anything else. 

After spending the first few months in a temporary location, EFI Bonn moved to its final premises on the Platz der Vereinten Nationen in 2018. From the first floor hallway of this building, many new employees caught their first glimpse of the forest embracing the city’s Western boundaries. What initially was no more than a background scenery, quickly turned into an impactful presence in our everyday work, as EFI Bonn slowly started to spread its roots into the fertile soils of the Lower Rhine Bay and its adjacent hills. 

The forest that they saw on the western horizon, the Kottenforst, turned out to be managed by a wise, dedicated and friendly man and forester named Uwe Schölmerich.

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Stadtwälder als “natürliche Problemlöser”?

Gelsenkirchen ist Fallstudie in grossem europäisch-chinesischem Forschungsprojekt koordiniert von EFI

Was hat Gelsenkirchen mit der chinesischen Stadt Huaibei zu tun? Auf den ersten Blick nicht viel. Dennoch wurden beide Städte – zusammen mit u.a. Barcelona und Krakau, Hongkong und Peking – als “Fallstudien-Städte” für CLEARING HOUSE, das erste europäisch-chinesische Forschungsprojekt zu urbanen Wäldern ausgewählt. Und dies aus gutem Grund: Die ausgesuchten Städte sind mit besonderen Herausforderungen konfrontiert, die teilweise auf alle zutreffen, teilweise regional-spezifisch sind: von Umweltbelastungen zu hohen Arbeitslosenquoten, von massivem industriellem Wachstum zu Chancen und Schwierigkeiten, die Migration mit sich bringt. Gemeinsam haben alle diese Städte, dass stadtnahe und städtische Wälder sowie Parks und Bäume in öffentlichen und privaten Räumen eine wichtige Rolle spielen, wenn wir den ökologischen, wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Herausforderungen begegnen wollen. Urbane Wälder erhöhen unser Wohlbefinden, sind Lebensraum für viele verschiedene Arten und wirken negativen Klimaentwicklungen wie Hitzeinseln entgegen, indem sie im heissen Sommer Schatten spenden.

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Faktor 2,4 – Corona lässt Menschen in den Wald strömen

Försterinnen und Förster fordern Umsicht

„Unter Covid-19 haben die Besucherzahlen einen beispiellosen Boom erlebt. Der Kottenforst war vorher schon ein beliebtes Waldgebiet, über das Jahr haben wir durchschnittlich 290 Passanten am Tag gezählt. Aber die Zahl hat sich im März und April um den Faktor 2,4 gesteigert,“ zeigt sich Forscher Jakob Derks vom European Forest Institute (EFI) bei einer Freilicht-Pressekonferenz am 14. Mai 2020 im Kottenforst beeindruckt. Waren vorher morgens und abends in der Auswertung der Zählstelle klare Spitzen zu erkennen, die die Forschenden auch auf Rad-Pendlerinnen und -Pendler zurückführen, so dominieren in der Corona-Zeit nun Waldbesuche an den Nachmittagen, mit sehr hohen Besucherzahlen. Im Vergleich der Wochentage zeigt sich, dass Freitag und Samstag stark an Beliebtheit gewonnen haben und über den Tag neuerdings die höchsten Besucherzahlen verzeichnen.  

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Stories on trees: urban forests & green space during Covid-19 pandemic

The COVID 19 pandemic is transforming our society. All the basic elements of living together have radically changed in the past weeks: Where and how we work, whom we spend time with, whom we care about, what tasks and activities keep us busy. During the lockdown those that can, have been flocking into green spaces and urban forests for physical exercise and mental calming. At least this applies to those who are not locked down totally. Recent charts by Google, for instance, show an impressive increase of mobility toward places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens, amidst a general fall in mobility trends (e.g. the case of Germany).

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Spirituality of the urban forest

Written by Joshua Amaitum Elukut

“When we pay attention to nature’s music, we find that everything on earth contributes to its harmony.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Twenty first century cities are characterized by tall skyscrapers, high residential densities, improved public transport infrastructure, as well as buildings of historical heritage. More people are moving from rural to urban areas, with the proportion of global urban population set to increase from 14% in 1900 to over 66% in 2025.

It is unfortunate that despite this trend, many urban areas lack adequate green infrastructure thus the ratio of green areas to built up areas is low. This gives inhabitants the feeling that they live in a ‘concrete jungle’ and are divorced from the natural world, contrary to earlier times when trees had a dominant influence upon human life and were sacred in many cultures.  

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