28 April 2021 | Reading 7 mins.

Championing urban forests for human well-being

Trees are being leveraged as solutions to diverse issues ranging from air pollution to climate change.

Photo: David Mark, Pixabay

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Rik de Vreese
Senior Researcher and Team Leader for Urban Forestry, EFI Bonn - CLEARING HOUSE Project Coordinator
Professor Wang Cheng
Executive Deputy Director of the Urban Forest Research Centre (UFRC) of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration at the Research Institute of Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF-RIF) - CLEARING HOUSE Project Coordinator

Rik de Vreese, Senior Researcher and Team Leader for Urban Forestry, EFI Bonn - CLEARING HOUSE Project Coordinator

Professor Wang Cheng, Executive Deputy Director of the Urban Forest Research Centre (UFRC) of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration at the Research Institute of Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF-RIF) - CLEARING HOUSE Project Coordinator

Unfamiliar with the term ‘urban forests’? Here’s a breakdown. Urban Forests as Nature-Based Solutions (UF-NBS) are a subset of nature-based solutions that build on tree-based urban ecosystems to address societal challenges, simultaneously providing ecosystem services for human well-being and biodiversity benefits. UF-NBS include peri-urban and urban forests, forested parks, small woods in urban areas, and trees in public and private spaces. Simply put, trees are being leveraged as solutions to diverse issues ranging from air pollution to climate change.

The value of trees and green spaces in our urban environments has intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic is transforming our society. All the basic elements of living together have radically changed: where and how we work, whom we spend time with, whom we care about, and what tasks and activities keep us busy. During the lockdown, people have been flocking to green spaces and urban forests for physical exercise and mental calm. It turns out that trees are beneficial for a lot more than the oxygen that we need to breathe – they are also advantageous to our mind and overall well-being.

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