Urban and periurban forests (UPF) for improving the environment and the quality of life in our cities
Although the event was mainly dedicated to the scientific community, the discussion of the final table round was mainly driven by the question of how scientific knowledge on green infrastructure can be adequately communicated to policy- and decision-makers.
Therefore, Teresa Pastor’s oral presentation of our association with the topic “Periurban Parks, key Green infrastructure elements to make our cities more livable” was a valuable contribution to the course of the conference.For more details regarding content:
The Urban and Periruban Forests (UPF) can contribute to the improvement of the urban environment through a number of mitigation actions. A well-structured urban or periurban forest mitigates temperature, decreases acoustic pollution, water run-off and soil erosion, absorbs air, soil and water pollutants which means improving the environment and the quality of life. Some of the above ecosystem services are mainly relevant in Mediterranean environment. For instance, the decrease of temperatures and mitigation of the “heat island effect” the uptake of pollutants typical of Mediterranean climate such as ozone, the reduction of water run-off in extreme events more and more frequent in southern climates. In other cases the role of urban trees can be detrimental such as in the case of BVOC emission which can dramatically increase the photochemical reactivity of the urban atmosphere or the pollen release. These are both critical issues in Mediterranean regions due to the length of the growing season, the high irradiance and the high biodiversity in urban tree species.
The key objectives of the conference were:
• To increase the understanding of the role of UPF in the context of Green Infrastructures (GI) from a scientific and a socio-economic perspective, in terms of the ecosystem services provided to people and to the urban environment;
• To identify priorities and challenges for future research in the field;
• To provide indicators and/or thresholds to be included by policy makers in local, national or international regulations about GI and UPF;
• To develop guidelines for GI planners and managers on how to implement GI approaches with an emphasis on linking the environmental and social services of UPF.