Session 1.2 Policy implications on management of urban forests as nature based solutions

March 17, 2021, 8:30 am to 10:00 am

Chair:

Clive Davies, European Forest Institute

TA: Louisa

 

Schedule

  1. Dennis Roitsch: Governing urban forests: An analysis of governance, institutional and economic frameworks in Europe and China
  2. Jakob Derks: COVID-19-induced visitor boom reveals the importance of forests as critical infrastructure
  3. Nic da Schio

 

The European Forest Institute governance and resilience programme, based in Bonn, Germany, is coordinator of the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project which is investigating urban forests as a nature based solution. The project is a Sino-European collaboration.  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic researchers at CLEARING HOUSE partners have been melding results of their investigations on NBS with the on-going outcomes, such as governance and management alongside the current and anticipated consequences of COVID-19.  The result is the identification of a range of policy and practice implications for the future planning and delivery of forests in both urban and peri-urban settings. Three complimentary presentations set the scene for the panel theme. Clive Davies advisor and facilitator on urban forestry and a skilled moderator will interview the presenters using preprepared questions but also those posed by attendees.  The presentations are:

  • Governing urban forests: An analysis of governance, institutional and economic frameworks in Europe and China
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of and attitudes towards urban forests and green spaces: exploring the instigators of change in Belgium
  • COVID-19-induced visitor boom reveals the importance of forests as critical infrastructure

All of this research has been undertaken in the last 14 months.

 

Dennis Roitsch, European Forest Institute

Governing urban forests: An analysis of governance, institutional and economic frameworks in Europe and China

The understanding of governance arrangements of urban forest as nature-based solutions (UF-NBS) is important because urbanisation, climate change and societal demands, especially now with COVID-19, increasingly require the conservation and sustainable management of urban forests and other green spaces in cities. In particular, cash-strapped public and private budgets following COVID-19 require solutions for secure long-term funding under different governance arrangements of urban green spaces. It is believed that governance, institutional and economic frameworks are decisive in the design, implementation and impacts of UF-NBS. Yet not enough is known about what governance arrangements are in place that impact on the delivery of UF-NBS at the local level. Based on 20 case studies of UF-NBS in Europe and China, using literature and interviews with local key informants as data sources an analysis was undertaken of institutions, actors, resources and rules of the game. By comparing them on multiple levels and by contextual differences concerning UF-NBS between countries, cities and regions in China and Europe; results reveal links that can be used for the successful, long-term implementation of UF-NBS. As a result of our work, policy actors such as local City Councils should be able to draw on the successful cases and lessons learnt from other cities.

Jakob Derks, European Forest Institute

COVID-19-induced visitor boom reveals the importance of forests as critical infrastructure

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the globe have implemented a certain degree of lockdown, restricting citizens’ freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. This presentation aims to illustrate the impact that the measures against the spread of COVID-19 have on forest recreation, building on a study in an urban context around Bonn (Germany) that was conducted between April 2019 and February 2020. The quantitative and qualitative data on urban forest visits from that study were supplemented with new census data supported by selected expert interviews. We found that visitor numbers since the inception of COVID-19 measures in March 2020 have more than doubled. Visitor patterns have drastically shifted, from an even distribution throughout the day with small peaks before and after office hours to a culmination in the late afternoon. Lastly, the interviewed forestry professionals have noted that a new set of visitors, i.e., young people, families with children and non-locals, have arrived in the forest. This influx of more and novice visitors poses challenges for forest managers and urban forest policy. It is, however, also a unique opportunity for a substantial engagement of forestry with society at large, that has implications for forest policy, especially in urban areas, possibly beyond the COVID-19 pandemic era.

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