Manchester City of Trees, the European Forest Institute (EFI), the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) and the HORIZON 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project invited for a 3-day conference on ‘Urban Forestry for a resilient future‘ in May. The 2-hour webinars brought together practitioners, researchers, policymakers and people eager to learn about the manifold opportunities urban forestry provides to make urban areas more resilient. This event was organised as part of the European Forum on Urban Forestry Semester 2021, a decentralised networking programme running from March to May with many diverse events.
Recordings are now available - click here to access the conference playlist. To dive into the presentations contributed by speakers during the Urban Forestry Days, please scroll down and click directly on the titles.
The conference explored urban forests through three main themes:
- Theme 1: ‘Keeping cities cool and reducing flood risk’ – How our urban forests help to provide resilience, and what we can do to make them more adaptable to climate change and urban expansion
- Theme 2: ‘The air we breathe and the way we feel’ – The role of the urban forest in meeting our basic life needs and addressing the challenges of physical and mental health
- Theme 3: ‘Trees and urban design’ – How trees and GI are integral to the development of our towns and cities in creating places where people want to live, work and play and how forest products can help to reduce our carbon footprint.
A range of interdisciplinary speakers from Europe and beyond highlighted factors that play a vital role in the sustainable transition of cities. They discussed the importance of ecosystem services provided by urban green and key challenges like the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands. Participants were invited to discuss and learn more about the essential ecosystem services urban forests provide for health and well-being and explore how the urban forest can help towns engage with reconciliation ecology.
May 4th ‘Keeping cities cool and reducing flood risk’
Moderator: Pete Stringer (Resilience Manager, Manchester City of Trees)
- The value of trees in addressing urban risk – Karl Astbury, Senior Policy Adviser Greater Manchester Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit
- Bringing back nature into the city: The good practices of the Municipality of Milan – Piero Pelizzaro, Chief Resilience Officer Milan Municipality
- IGNITION – Exploring Innovative Financing Mechanisms to Deliver Urban Green Infrastructure – Samuel Evans, Head of Natural Environment Greater Manchester Combined Authority
- Increasing Urban Flood Resilience Through Upper Catchment Forestry on Crompton Moor – Project insight by Pete Stringer
May 5th ‘The air we breathe and the way we feel’
Moderator: Chris Baines (Environmentalist & broadcaster)
- Strategic green infrastructure to mitigate the health impacts of roadside air pollution – Dr James Levine, Senior Research Fellow School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
- The “Natural” Health Service – Clare Olver, Programmes Manager, The Mersey Forest
- The Green Gym – Dominic Hall, Assistant Operations Director, The Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV)
- The air trees ‘breathe’: results from a mature temperate broadleaf forest under elevated CO2 – Prof Rob MacKenzie, Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research University of Birmingham
May 6th ‘Trees and urban design’
Moderator: Alan Simson (Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry at Leeds Beckett University)
- Fast Moving Landscapes – climate adaptation and urban trees – Prof. Greg Keeffe, Head of School of Natural & Built Environments, Queens University Belfast
- Trees and GI in the New Towns – Katy Lock, Director of Communities, Town & Country Planning Association
- Green living rooms in the city: a poetic approach to the urban green. – Christian Dobrick, Senior Project Manager, West 8 Rotterdam Not ok with recordings
- Northern Forest x Grow Back Greener – Reforesting the North, recovering from Covid 19 and levelling up the country – Steve Connor, Chief Executive Creative Concern
Thank you all for participating and working together towards greener, more resilient cities!
Manchester City of Trees
Manchester City of Trees is delivering a green recovery and tackling the climate emergency head on, through planting trees and restoring woodlands for the people and wildlife of Greater Manchester. Working with communities, organisations, and businesses to build an ambitious movement, dedicated to planting a tree for every citizen within just five years.
European Forest Institute
The European Forest Institute (EFI) is an international organisation, established by European States. EFI conducts research and provides policy support on forest-related issues, connecting knowledge to action. EFI has 29 Member Countries, and c. 120 member organizations from 38 different countries working in diverse research fields. The headquarters of the Institute are in Joensuu, Finland, and its other main offices are in Barcelona, Bonn and Brussels.
The CLEARING HOUSE project gathers 26 partners in Europe and China, and will provide evidence and tools that facilitate the mobilisation of the full potential of urban forest-based solutions (UF-NBS) for rehabilitating, reconnecting and restoring urban ecosystems. This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 821242.