Urban Forestry and the Eco-City: Today and Tomorrow [chapter]

Margaret M. Carreiro, Wayne C. Zipperer
Ecology, Planning, and Management of Urban Forests  
Introduction In 1990, the Chicago Academy of Sciences held a conference on Sustainable Cities: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity, which lead to the publication of a book entitled The Ecological City (Platt et al., 1994). This symposium differed from others on cities at that time by focusing principally on cities as habitats for biodiversity. The thrust of the symposium was that interactions between people and non-human biological entities in urban landscapes had not received much
more » ... received much scientific attention and warranted increased ecological investigation. More than a decade later in Shanghai, the conference, International Meeting on Eco-Cities and Urban Forests, explored the role of urban forestry in creating more environmentally sound cities that enhance people's quality of life. During the interval between these two symposia, urban ecology has rapidly developed as an ecological discipline exploring the myriad elements that comprise an urban landscape. No longer are urban ecologists trying to convince the ecological community that urban landscapes are important and productive subjects for research, planners that ecological concepts need to be incorporated into urban design, and environmental managers that a multiple scale approach is needed to manage ecological goods and services and to restore habitats. However, this symposium also did reveal that implementation of these principles can be difficult for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that we still do not understand the nuances of the political and socio-ecological interactions that affect the structure and function of urban landscapes and how they can be influenced to improve environmental conditions citywide (e.g., Perkins et al., 2004). The reality is, of course, that if our cities are to move in the direction of becoming ecocities, a greater awareness of the ecosystem services provided by a city's urban forest (it's entire DRAFT VERSION In: Ecology, Planning and Management of Urban Forests: International Perspectives. 2008. Editors: M. M. Carreiro, Y-C Song, J. Wu. Springer Publishers, New York, NY. 3 green infrastructure) must not only be fostered among practitioners and scientists, but also among political leaders and the public. More opportunities should be created to formally and informally educate the public on the roles that urban nature plays in reducing a city's resource and energy use, in improving air and water quality, in decreasing flooding, and in maintaining our physical and psychological well-being. Such education provides the foundation for change. Making cities more comfortable places for people to live by incorporating more of the natural world into our daily lives, and by working with nature to prevent or mitigate problems that otherwise require costly engineered solutions are means of linking local quality of life for urban residents with global sustainability for the human species. Therefore, an environmentally educated populace with a greater shared vision for their future is essential, if the long-term goal of creating more ecologically sound and resource-efficient cities is to succeed. The studies collected in this volume represent a global snapshot of many perspectives and activities of planners, managers and environmental scientists centered on integrating more and better-planned green infrastructure into the hardscapes of our burgeoning cities. Such diverse experimentation is exciting and essential at this stage in the development of international urban forestry, if professionals are to assess which urban greening strategies are successful in their respective cities. Yet within all this diversity of approaches and opinion, shared ideas and needs have emerged. In this concluding chapter, we will highlight and reinforce some of the major crosscutting themes expressed by the international authors who contributed to this book. These include: • Defining the scope of the urban forest and the need for holistic management DRAFT VERSION In: Ecology, Planning and Management of Urban Forests: International Perspectives. 2008. Editors: M. M. Carreiro, Y-C Song, J. Wu. Springer Publishers, New York, NY. 4 • Quantifying the urban forest and its ecological services • Expanding research in urban ecology and forestry • Building partnerships for implementation, planning and research • Incorporating urban forestry into the vision of the eco-city We do recognize that most of the recommendations and issues described in this chapter and book have not benefited from the experiences of people in cities on all continents, and so, mainly reflect current urban forestry concerns in particular countries in Europe, Asia and North America where conference participants originated. In addition, the urban forestry issues and studies included in this book deal primarily with cities in countries that have the economic capability of supporting an urban forestry program and with cities that occur mostly in temperate climates. Therefore, we will also include some potential contrasts with the urban forestry needs and challenges faced by cities in developing countries with fewer economic resources, many of which are in more tropical regions. By doing so, we hope to stimulate more international dialogue in identifying and articulating a spectrum of urban forestry goals that would match the varying needs of people in different cities throughout the world. Defining the Urban Forest and the Need for Holistic Management The simple act of defining the domain of urban forestry highlights its diversity rather than unity. The urban forest is a mosaic of trees and other vegetation, some of which are managed intensively by different agencies or people, and others where natural successional forces, indirectly affected by urban conditions, determine species composition and regeneration
doi:10.1007/978-0-387-71425-7_27 fatcat:nve5macvdjfhxdeukt3jzxuifi