23rd October 2015 Urban Forests: The ecosystem value of trees in cities.

David Novak comes to Dublin!

Renowned urban forestry scientist Dr David Nowak visited Dublin for a public event held in the Wood Quay offices of Dublin City Council on October 23rd . This highly successful event provided an overview of the environmental benefits that are provided by urban trees in European and US cities. Our speakers included Dr Christy Boylan, of the World Urban Parks; Dr Gerald Mills, PI of the Dublin Tree Canopy Study in UCD; Dr Johan Östberg from the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management and finally Dr David Nowak of the US Forestry Service.

The speakers provided a wide overview of the field of Urban Forestry and Green Infrastructure, and the plethora of environmental benefits that urban trees and green spaces provide to city dwellers.

Christy kicked of the day and gave the audience a wonderful introduction to the fields, backed up by a historical perspective detailing the evolution of topics from the 1800’s to the present day. See his presentation here.

Gerald followed this up by reporting on the progress of the Dublin Tree Canopy Study. Already delivering impressive results, Gerald described the how distinct spatial patterns in canopy cover were evident from the work to date. Of particular interest was the apparent co-location of areas of economic deprivation and lack of tree canopy cover. See here for this presentation.

Johan provided the audience with a the European overview on Urban Forestry, focusing on the Scandinavian countries. First highlighting the challenges that trees face growing in cities (such as disease, high temperature and  poor air quality), Johan showed the audience how careful tree planting could help cities face the challenges of a changing climate, such as fiercer storms and hotter weather.  His presentation can be found here.

Finally, David showed the audience how Urban Forestry can be viewed as a management journey, taking us from where we are to an optimised future state. He described the processes trees use to remove air pollution, store carbon and reduce energy demand in cities, and how the value of these service can be determined.  He concluded by introducing the audience to the i-Tree suite of tools, which allow users, working with the US Forest Service, to perform these assessments themselves in their home cities. See his presentation here.

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