International Day of Forests the theme is Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities. The urban forest includes all the trees in a city, street trees, those found in parkland and in private gardens.
In the UK urban forests have made it into the news a lot recently, given the shocking fact that Sheffield (once known as a very green city) has been destroying many of its street trees. Gone or threatened are historic avenues of lime trees, monuments to those fallen in the wars and a rare elm tree that is resistant to Dutch elm disease and home to a very rare butterfly. As if this isn't bad enough, those people who have been protesting the tree fellings havebeen treated as criminals, charged in the courts or in some cases injured when police have attacked them in the streets.
It's not just Sheffield though. Edinburgh City Council recently removed all the beautiful trees from Picardy Place so they can improve the traffic flow - the trees were removed almost overnight and with barely enough time for the ink to dry on the so called consultation on the traffic measures. The beautiful trees around Meadowbank Stadium have a very uncertain future under plans to modernise the stadium and use 'excess land' for housing and other developments.
Urban trees provide many benefits to urban
communities, from cooling the environment and saving energy, to
providing health benefits and building resilience against floods and
storms. They should be nurtured and celebrated not destroyed for the sake of traffic.
Trees for Cities is the only international charity working to create greener cities. Since 1993, they have engaged over 70,000
people to plant over 600,000 trees in urban areas. They plant trees where they will have the greatest
social and environmental impact on local people and their communities. In London for example this might mean planting trees to clean the air while in Nairobi it may mean planting
fruit trees for food.
Woodland Trust protects and creates woodland across the UK, some of their woodlands are near or in urban areas.
I took the photo at the top of the post in the woodland area at Musselburgh Lagoons today. Coincidentally, my poem Traffic was posted today (which is also World Poetry Day) at Plum Tree Tavern.
As ever, red text in this post contains hyperlinks that take you to other websites where you can find out more.