In preparation of the first World Forum on Urban Forests promoted by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), which was held from 28 November 2018 to 1 December 2018 in Mantova, Italy, designers of the first Vertical Forest launched a video appeal to architects, urban planners, botanists, agronomists, forestry corps, tree growers, geographers, ethologists, landscape scientists, technicians, researchers and experts in green care and urban forestry, real estate developers, administrators and representative of local institutions and civil society, members and representatives of international organisations, funding agencies, universities and research institutes, and NGOs.
The video states that:
- By 2030, 60% of the global population is projected to live in urban areas.
- Cities consume 75% of the world’s natural resources and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions.
- Cumulative emissions of CO2, together with methane and other greenhouse gases, largely determine global mean surface warming of the planet, causing ice melting, biodiversity loss and rising sea levels.
- Forests and trees – which are at risk of continuous erosion all over the world – absorb nearly 40% of fossil fuel emissions largely produced by our cities every year.
- Leaves and roots of a mature tree absorb CO2 through photosynthesis and help reduce the pollutants (responsible for a high percentage of respiratory diseases and premature deaths) present in the air.
- If a single tree can bring great benefits to the city and its inhabitants, an urban forest can be an extraordinary help to improve the quality of health and life in a city.
We believe that:
- Cities, which are largely responsible for climate change problems, have the opportunity to become an integral part of their own solution, by increasing the number of forests and trees that can “fight the enemy” on its own ground (the city), using CO2 as fertiliser.
- Increasing forests and trees in world’s cities can help absorb CO2, drastically reduce pollution, energy consumption and the “urban heat island” effect, increasing biodiversity of living species and making cities safer, more pleasant, healthier and attractive.
- A global action on urban forestry will help to prevent global temperature from rising above 2 °C, the maximum acceptable treeshold defined by the COP 21 agreement in Paris (2015).
- Urban Forestry a call for action In preparation of the first World Forum on Urban Forests promoted by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), which will be held from 28 November 2018 to 1 December 2018 in Mantova, Italy.
Therefore: we have the duty to launch a global campaign on urban forestry in order to multiply the presence of forests and trees in our cities. Such a campaign should start with these major actions:
- Protect and increase permeable and green surfaces in the city
- Create new parks and gardens
- Transform city roofs into lawns and vegetable gardens
- Transform perimeter walls and urban barriers into green facades
- Transform urban voids and courtyards into green oasis
- Promote community gardens and implement urban agriculture
- Use tree roots to decontaminate polluted soils
- Create a network of green corridors (tree-lined avenues, street trees…) to connect parks, forests, and green buildings
- Multiply the number of green buildings and Vertical Forests
- Create new orbital forests and woodlands all around our cities
Thus: if we want to reverse climate change, if we want to favour the survival of living species, if we want our cities to be greener, healthier and more pleasant places, urban forestry should be a priority in the international agenda of governments and local and international institutions. The next months will be crucial to pledge your support, and collect your experiences and urban forestry projects, in preparation for the first World Forum on Urban Forests, promoted by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) with Municipality of Mantova, SISEF (Società Italiana di Selvicoltura ed Ecologia Forestale), Politecnico di Milano, which will be held from 28 November 2018 to 1 December 2018 in Mantova, Italy.