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Activities > Restoration and Sustainable Management of Dryland Forests in Central and Northeast Asia



17–18 October 2019
Seoul, Republic of Korea


Social issue of urbanization and the importance of urban forests in Asia

In 2014, 54% of the world's population lives in cities, and by 2050 it is projected to increase by about 66%. Along with climate change in the future, various factors such as urban population growth, environmental degradation, extreme climate increase, economic crisis and social inequality increase the city to change and become unstable and unpredictable.

In particular, Asia predicts severe environmental changes over the next 20 years, including water and air pollution, deforestation and degradation, and climate change. On the other hand, urban forests are known to provide diverse ecosystem services (such as removal of air pollutants, heat island mitigation, energy conservation, conservation of biodiversity, water conservation, and mitigation of climate change) from provision services of foods such as fruits, mushrooms, herbs and livestock’s herbage. In particular, it has the advantage of enhancing socioeconomic health, well-being, and quality of life for residents living in urban forests such as green job creation, land price increase and electricity cost reduction.

How to use urban forests to mitigate the effects of urbanization and minimize environmental degradation has been neglected as unfavorable policy area, especially in many developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, the differences and insufficiency of knowledge, information and capacity building among countries in the Asia-Pacific region appear to be limited urban development and planning, resulting in constraints that do not improve the functions and benefits of urban forest resources. Therefore, it is urgent to discuss effective sustainable strategies and solutions at the local level of city and regional level of Asia-Pacific regions, respectively.

Recent movement for urban forests in Asia
Coping with the urbanization and air pollution at Asia region, there has been a couple of international conference since 2016, The 1st Conference entitled as "Urban and Peri-urban Forestry Program" had been held by FAO and the Urban Forest Research Center of China's Forestry Bureau in Zhuhai City, 2016. In order to discuss the current situation, problems and future of urban forestry in the Asia-Pacific region, the first meeting of the United Nations FAO, the Forestry Research Center of China Forestry Bureau, and Zhuhai City, Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting (APUFM). "The conference slogan was" Greener, Healthy and Future Happiness "(Greener, Healthier, Happier). The 2nd Asia-Pacific Urban Forest Conference was hosted by the Korea Forest Service, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government in Seoul from September 13 to 15, 2017, and more than 180 urban forest experts from 17 countries including China, Japan, and the United States attended. The theme was “Acting Together for the Greener and Cooler Cities ("Together for a Better, Cooler City"), And, the Seoul Action Plan was adopted including detailed information (performance and timing, core activities, indicators and objectives, key parties, budgets, and related SDGs by strategic objectives) in the field of 1) Greener cites, 2) cleaner cities, 3) cooler cities, 4) healthier cities, 5) More inclusive cities, 6) More diverse cities, and 7) Wealthier cities.

In the March 21, 2018, Korea Forest Service hosted the Korea-China Research Cooperation on Urban Forests coping with Fine Particles in this year, along with Korea-China Symposium on Urban Forests Coping with Fine Particles. Also, the 1st WFUF(World Forum on Urban Forests) in Mantova, Italy held in November, 2018, the importance of Asian Network and direction had been raised by participants in all over the world. The 22nd Meeting of European Forum, and the other continental meeting have been a stimuli to make an Asian Network. From this perspective, some countries including Korea will have a 1st symposium on urban forests. Recently, issues of fine dusts have been emerged as a key social issue in East Asia including China, Japan and Korea.


The Symposium

The East Asian Symposium on Urban Forests: Coping with Fine Dusts, was successfully organized by NIFOS from 17 to 18 October 2019 in Seoul, Korea. Researchers and academicians from China, Japan, Korea and USA presented research and discussed the issues related to the functions and roles of forestry in greening and improving urban environment, NIFoS has been conducting i-Tree modules research to investigate and deliver the value of urban forests at a mobile platform since 2018 with the collaboration of USDA Forest Services. The i-Tree Platform can provide the structural assets and functional values of urban forests with peoples, it also facilitate the benefit-based approach including networks of structure, function, value, and strategic management of urban forests.

During the symposium, NIFoS proposed to establish an East-Asian Network for Urban Forestry. This could facilitate iniating a platform to discuss issues related to fine dusts at local, national, and regional level. This would be the first step in establishing the Asia-Pacific Networks of Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting (APUFM) in the near future, which should be followed by periodic meetings with cooperation of international entities like APAFRI and the other international research organization focusing on urban forests.



Updated on 14 November 2019

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