Managing Urban Forests: A Much Needed Conservation Strategy to Increase Ecosystem Services and Urban Wellbeing

Megacities contain at least 10 million people whose wellbeing largely depends on ecosystem services provided by remote natural areas. What is, however, most often disregarded is that nature conservation in the city can also contribute to human wellbeing benefits

Background

The most common mind set separates cities from the rest of nature, as if they were not special kinds of natural habitats. Instead, awareness that urban systems are also nature and do host biodiversity and ecosystem services opportunities, should push urban people towards increased urban forest conservation and implementation strategies.

The megacity metropolitan areas ranged from 1173 to 18,720 sq km (median value 2530 sq km), with median tree cover 21%, and potential tree cover another 19% of the city.

Megacities had a median tree cover density of 39 m2/capita, much smaller than the global average value of 7800 m2/capita, with density lower in desert and tropical biomes, and higher in temperate biomes. 

Benefits of Urban Tree Planting

The present median benefit value from urban trees in all 10 megacities can be estimated as $482 million/yr due to reductions in CO, NO2, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5, $11 million/yr due to avoided stormwater processing by wastewater facilities, $0.5 million/yr due to building energy heating and cooling savings, and $8 million/yr due to CO2 sequestration. Planting more trees in potential tree cover areas could nearly double the benefits provided by the urban forest. 

Oversee and Managing Urban Trees

Keeping in track of all the available urban trees is complex due to, but not limited to the number of trees and area covered. To effectively see the benefits of urban forestry, every development and difficulty faced by each tree need to be properly recorded. This in turn, will generate a lot of data that need to be captured properly.

To effectively captured the real data, the fields workers need to be able to properly inform the condition of each tree and to capture any possible complaint fast, hence management can quickly make the necessary steps. 

Management needs to know how to effectively choose the correct conservation methods to preserve urban forest efficiently. They utilize all the trees data and complaints collected by fields workers. Technology helps optimize the process of data collection and data transparency. Therefore, a system that consolidates all the stakeholders roles and responsibilities, provides true and meaningful reports as well as displays crucial insights on the activities is required for a successful  conservation campaign.

In Conclusion

Urban trees conservation is really important to preserve the city habitat, to provide a better environment for its citizen and to help reduce pollution with effective cost. Estimated of  $482 million/yr in benefits due to reductions in CO, NO2, SO2, PM10, and PM2.5, $11 million/yr due to avoided stormwater processing by wastewater facilities, $0.5 million/yr due to building energy heating and cooling savings, and $8 million/yr due to CO2 sequestration. Planting more trees in potential tree cover areas could nearly double the benefits provided by the urban forest.
 
In order to optimize the preservation of urban trees and to get all the environmental benefits, each stakeholder has to be able to maximize its role. Therefore, utilizing technology to collect data and to make decision based on the data.

 

 

 

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