The 25th anniversary of the European Forum for Urban Forestry was held this year in Krakow, Poland, and was extremely well attended by visitors from around the world. Sharing knowledge, innovation, research and practical evidence of successful urban forestry, the event goes from strength to strength, giving academics, specifiers, clients, and practitioners the opportunity to learn from others and to contribute to the discussion.
Held 24-26 May at The Congress Centre at the University of Agriculture (a building appropriately cloaked with a tree and leaf mural), the three-day session gave a wide variety of different speakers, with a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions, workshops, poster presentations and daily site study visits. Starting with a welcome session by the City of Krakow, and some insights into how they are implementing nature-based solutions and moving them across the world to hear from such different areas as China, Italy, Belgrade, Vienna, Zagreb, Jakarta, Ghana, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Croatia, and others.
The real appreciation that many cities are under the same constraints, struggling with similar challenges is encouraging. Hearing how others have overcome the difficulties and managed to get urban forestry established as a mainstream solution to the problems that we all face is empowering; if it can be done there, why not here?
GreenBlue Urban was invited to present a Poster Presentation – a 50-second opportunity to showcase the ArborFlow and HydroPlanter options, where the urban forest is successfully used to mitigate against the increasingly intense rainfall events that are being experienced in our urban centres. Our presenter, Howard Gray, very briefly described the way that GreenBlue Urban has been working for over a decade to prove that our urban canopy is not only able to attenuate and clean our urban runoff but also the way that sustainable drainage schemes using trees experience a far greater growth rate in the canopy and faster establishment. Offering the latest “Trees and water sensitive Urban Design” publication, many attendees visited the GreenBlue Urban exhibition stand and collected the free literature.
GreenBlue Urban also had the opportunity to present at one of the parallel talks, speaking on the topic of the practical experiences of green and blue infrastructure using trees in Wales, England and the Netherlands. Showcasing projects in Breda, the Netherlands, Grangetown, Cardiff, Wales and Keighley, Yorkshire England, Howard explained how these projects had been designed with climate change adaptation and mitigation in mind, both to increase the urban canopy, but also to attenuate water and to help reduce heat stress in the summer. This talk was very well received, encouraging attendees to consider the multi-benefits of our urban canopy, and how as a profession we need to help educate the general public on the immense value of our urban forests.
During the conference, the CLEARING HOUSE project was much discussed. Being a four-year Sino-European collaboration to help improve an understanding of how our urban forests used as nature-based solutions support urban futures, this globe-crossing network of partners has successfully shown how knowledge sharing can assist other municipalities to leverage the information from larger cities to release more benefits for all. This project still has a few months to run, and we are sure that the final conclusions will show the transforming benefits of collaboration.
Finishing the conference with the closing session from chair, Jakub Kronenburg, a review of EFUF history from one of the earliest supporters, Cecil Konijnendijk, and a presentation from Simon Borelli on the 2nd World Forum on Urban Forests to be held in Washington DC in October 2023, the event was wrapped up with the European Young Forester of the Year award to Stefan Stevanovic for his work in Zurich, and a welcome to next years’ event in Zagreb, Croatia.
Many thanks to EFUF for the fantastic event, with particular thanks to Clive Davies, Agata Czaplarska, Rik De Vreese and many others who worked hard to make the event seamless.
GreenBlue Look forward to supporting EFUF in the future to secure green equality for all in our urban areas.