Silva Mediterranea

Plus de 90 ans au service des forêts méditerranéennes


“Cities are extraordinary and complex inventions of human beings, living monuments to the
stratification of time. But it is trees that punctuate time in cities.  They are an open window on the

cycle of nature, which is also the non-eternal cycle of our life”  - Renzo Piano 2010

Working Group on Urban and peri-urban forestry

In a world where urban areas are rapidly expanding, sound management of resources in and around cities is of primary importance to assure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of urban development. This is also the case for the Mediterranean region, one of the most altered and urbanized areas of the planet, where 507 million people live (2010) and where urban population is expected to reach 626 million by 2050. Growing evidence of the unsustainable manner in which cities have developed is now drawing attention to the need to focus efforts on a resilient urban model. The Urban and Peri-urban Forestry (UPF) approach can contribute to reach this goal by promoting the economic, social and environmental benefits provided by trees and green spaces in and around urban areas. When well-managed and integrated in the urban and peri-urban areas, trees and green spaces can contribute to solve a range of local challenges, including:

  • local climate-change mitigation and adaptation
  • quality food and water supply
  • communities’ health and well-being
  • jobs and income generation
  • environmental conservation
  • disaster risk management
  • making cities a better and healthier place to live

In spite of this, most cities in the Mediterranean region lack forests and trees, and UPF is not yet recognized as an established scientific discipline nor as a strategic factor for the sustainable development of urban and peri-urban areas. As a result, urban forestry-related issues rank low on the local agenda of Mediterranean cities, both in developed and developing countries. Therefore, there is a need for exchange of expertise, experiences and information on UPF in order to help build a common Mediterranean strategy to promote a “green vision” and raise UPF on the political agendas in the region. The purpose and mandate of this group is to establish and consolidate a UPF networking strategy for the Mediterranean countries by acting as a neutral forum where nations can meet and negotiate agreements, as well as debate policy on UPF.

Any expert from the Region interested in joining the WG can send an email to: [email protected]

Establishment and mission of the Working Group

The need of creating a regional partnership to face the UPF issue in the Mediterranean area was clearly highlighted during the 2-days workshop "MED-ways Guidelines and common routes for the future challenges on UPF in Mediterranean Countries” held in Florence (Italy) in December 2011. This workshop, jointly organized by University of Bari (DISAAT), University of Florence (GESAAF)IUFRO and FAO in the framework of the International Year of Forests 2011, aimed at strengthening UPF networking in Mediterranean countries and improving their relationship with the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF). A few months later, in order to respond to the urgent need of building a common awareness and network on sustainable development of Mediterranean cities based on a UPF approach, the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions – Silva Mediterranea established (in the framework of its 21st session held in Turkey in February 2012) the present Working Group. After a first meeting of the Provisional Secretariat held during the 15th European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF 2012) as a follow-up to the MED-Ways workshop, a launching meeting of the Group was finally held in Granada (Spain) on 22–23 May 2014.


While allowing the exchange of valuable information on the state-of-the-art of UPF in the Mediterranean countries, the mandate of the WG is to develop a UPF networking strategy for the Mediterranean countries and to act as a neutral forum where nations can meet and develop agreements, as well as debate policy aspects on the UPF issues. In particular, the WG focuses on the following priorities:

  • Develop a regional Urban and Peri-urban Mediterranean Partnership aimed at allowing the exchange of valuable information and experiences on the state of Mediterranean urban forest in the region;
  • Consolidate the horizontal partnership (Northern-Eastern-Southern-Western countries) and the vertical dialogue (north-south) between decision makers, scientists, technicians and associations in order to build a strategic and common vision of Green Infrastructure and Urban Forests (UFs) and raise the visibility of UPF up on the local agendas of Mediterranean countries;
  • Build a regional partnership to improve Mediterranean North-South networking in general, and countries’ policy networking in particular;
  • Raise local and regional awareness of citizens and stakeholders on the benefits and incomes related to the presence and good management of forests and green in and around cities.

The WG will also contribute to meet the goals of the Tlemcen Declaration, adopted in the III Mediterranean Forest Week namely:

  1. developing and promoting goods and services provided by forest ecosystems and other wooded lands in the Mediterranean
  2. promoting resilience of forest ecosystems and other wooded lands in the Mediterranean to face global changes
  3. enhancing capacity of stakeholders and mobilizing the necessary resources for the sustainable management of forest ecosystems and other wooded lands in the Mediterranean

Besides helping to meet the objectives of several international institution (see UPF website), the WG is also in line with the European Union Key action 12, which is to explore the potential of urban and peri-urban forests, and with the mandate of the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF). Indeed, experience gained by the EFUF network needs to be extended to the whole Mediterranean region and the WG may ensure this function.


During the last meeting in April 2020, the WG agreed on the following plan of activities:

Task Force 1: Development of a series of thematic briefs addressed to provide recommendations towards the implementation of policies maximizing the contrinbution of UPF in addressing urban challenges (Coordinator: Ms Michela Conigliaro/Mr Simone Borelli, FAO - [email protected], [email protected]) - see progresses

Task Force 2: Development of a position paper on the role of UPF in increasing the resilience of urban communities to health issues in the Mediterranean region (Coordinator: Mr Fabio Salbitano - [email protected])

Task Force 3: Organization of thematic webinars to address specific issues related to UPF in the region (Coordinator: Ms Michela Conigliaro/Mr Simone Borelli, FAO - [email protected], [email protected]) - see progresses

Task Force 4:  Development of project proposals (Coordinator: Ms Paloma Cariñanos, University of Granada - [email protected])

Task Force 5: Development technical guidelines on criteria for the selection and use of tree species in urban and peri-urban contexts in the Region (Coordinator: Mr Alessio Fini, University of Milan - [email protected])

Task Force 6: Development of a database of regional case studies (Coordinator: Ms Michela Conigliaro/Mr Simone Borelli, FAO - [email protected], [email protected])

Task Force 7: Development of a structure/framework for the classification of UPF indicators (Coordinator: Mr Artur Gonçalves, University of Braganza - [email protected])

Task Force 8: Organization of living laboratories and activities to support knowledge sharing and capacity development within the region, and replicate successful case studies (Ms Maria Beatrice Andreucci, Sapienza University of Rome - [email protected])


The Secretariat of the WG is normally led by two coordinators and a reference FAO person. The role of the Secretariat of the Working Group is to coordinate at regional level the National Focal Points that wish to join and participate in the activities of the group itself. The Secretariat of the WG works in close collaboration with the FAO Urban and peri-urban forestry Programme, whose main role is to ensure the coordination and dialogue in the implementation of the activities developed by the Group. Coordinators of the WG for the year 2020-2021 are:

Last meeting

The XIII Workshop of the WG was held on 26-27-28 April 2021, via zoom. The workshop was structured in five sessions of about 2-3 hours each, distributed over three days (see draft programme attached). Main objective of the event was to actively work in thematic working sessions with the coordinators of the different Task Forces to advance on the activities currently under development (see above session "Activities"). The event also represent edan occasion to present relevant FAO urban forestry-related initiatives and programmes currently under development/implementation. Among those, the FAO Green Cities Programme launched in 2018, and the Green Urban Oases Programme. A dedicated session was also allocated for voluntary presentations from the members of the WG. 

Programme: Programme XIII Workshop  

Report: Report XIII Workshop  


Mr Simone Borelli - The FAO Green Cities Programme   

Mr Simone Borelli - The FAO Green Urban Oases Programme   

Mr Pierre Sicard - The AIRFRESH Project   

Mr Mohamed Boufaroua - Innovative approaches to UPF in Tunisia   

Mr Maurizio Badiani - Urban Trees' Torpenoids  


Next meeting

The next meeting of the WG will be held on Tuesday 21 December. Main objectives of the meeting will be (among others) to share progresses and actively work on some of the ongoing activities, discuss the participation of the WG to the upcoming VII Mediterranean Forest Week (Turkey, 21-25 March 2022), and agree on the work plan for the upcoming six months. The event will also represent an occasion to share updates on relevant FAO urban forestry-related initiatives and programmes, including the FAO Green Cities Initiative, and the Green Urban Oases Programme. The workshop will be opened by a thematic webinar, held as part of the TreeCities4MED – Webinar series (10.00-11.00). Two working sessions of two hours each will follow (11.00-13.00/14.00-16.00). 

Link to register:

last updated:  Tuesday, December 14, 2021