The European Environment Agency and the SNS/EFINORD funded network “Urban Forests in Northern Regions” will organize a policy outreach workshop on the 15th of March, 2018 in Brussels. Here researchers and policy makers from 8 participating European nations, the European Environmental Agency and the European Commission will discuss opportunities for integrating the use, management and governance of urban forests and woodlands to promote human health and well-being outcomes.
“Based on the workshop discussions, we intend to produce a summary of the key challenges and opportunities associated with the integrated multi-level governance of urban forests and woodlands to promote human health and well-being outcomes”, says one of the organizers, Natalie Marie Gulsrud.
The summary will form the basis for future collaborations on research or innovation projects and thus will influence synergies between urban forests and woodlands and broader urban environmental planning and management agendas at a local, national, and European level.
Urban forests and woodlands constitute the most common type of green space in many European cities and support urban ecosystems, biodiversity, human health and well-being. Therefore the quality and quantity of forested land located in and around European cities and towns is of critical importance for sustainable urban development and nature-based solutions.
However, data to quantify and characterize European urban forests and woodlands have so far, by and large, been lacking or fragmentary.
By combining the NFI with an urban focus, a SNS and EFINORD supported network “Urban Forests in Northern Regions – What can National Forest Inventories tell us” has, however, pioneered work and prepared the ground for expansion of the political relevance of the NFI to the sustainable urban development agenda at the national and EU level. At the meeting the network will present the results and outline the potential of NFI to provide, for the first time, national level data on urban forest resources, their availability, and future sustainable supply.
A major step
Expansion of the NFI to include and report specifically on urban forests will be a major step forward for their integration and recognition in national and international policy and decision making. This step is also in line with the evolution of forest inventories as multi-purpose resource surveys, broadening their scope to include new variables and components.