7.03.17 - Tree Health in Urban Forests
Urban trees and urban forests are widely acknowledged as key contributors to human well-being, through the provision of many ecosystem services like improvement of air quality, atmospheric cooling, flood regulation, and aesthetics. More than 80% of humanity will soon live in cities, thus increasing the need for healthy urban forests that are often called “green lungs”.
However, trees in cities are increasingly threatened by biotic and abiotic stresses that result from urban conditions, such as the heat island effect, mechanical damage or pollution, and global changes, like climate change and biological invasions. In particular, urban forests are often in close proximity to airports and harbours, which are known as main gateways for alien species, which also spread in ornamental plantings that are frequent in urban areas Consequently, urban forests have proved to be especially susceptible to accidentally introduced forest pests and pathogens, which can then spread into nearby natural forest landscapes or planted forests.
Innovative management solutions, such as increasing tree diversity and more adapted tree genotypes, are thus needed to improve the resilience of urban trees and forests. Advanced strategies are also required for early detection, eradication and control of tree pests and diseases in urban environment.
Objectives of the Working Party
This new Working Party aims to encourage and co-ordinate international exchange of information and co-operation among scientists in order to:
- Better identify and quantify pathological disorders affecting trees in urban settings;
- Investigate the relationships between the pathological disorders and global changes;
- Propose new pest and pathogen management solutions to preserve and improve urban tree and forest health in the long term;
- Link to research on the contribution of trees to human well-being in urban areas.
The scope of this working group covers all aspects of tree health, with the participation of forest entomologists and pathologists, and other relevant experts (e.g. plant physiologists, ecologists and geneticists, as well as social scientists), and addresses a broad spectrum of ecological and socio-economic issues.