Advancing urban and peri-urban forestry: highlights from the 16th Workshop of the Silva Mediterranea working group on urban forestry
The Working Group (WG) on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry was established by the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions - Silva Mediterranea in the framework of its 21st session in Turkey, Antalya, from 2 to 3 February 2012. The WG normally meets twice a year to exchange knowledge on the latest trends in the Mediterranean region, update each other on ongoing activities, discuss possible collaborations in the framework of specific projects, and agree on the work plan for the following semester. The Secretariat of the WG includes two coordinators elected among the members, who are and supported by the Urban and peri-urban forestry programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
From 26 to 27 June, the Silva Mediterranea WG on Urban and Peri-urban Forestry gathered in Rome for its 16th Workshop. Around forty people participated in the workshop, which was the first one held in hybrid format since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. The event was attended by a variety of experts from different countries from the Mediterranean region including Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia, Israel, Turkey, Croatia, Tunisia and Algeria – half attended in person and half virtually. The main objective of the XVI Workshop was to re-establish priorities for the activities implemented by the WG, promote exchanges on the latest trends in region and discuss the contribution to the WG activities of Silva Mediterranea.
Valuable insights were shared through voluntary presentations from a number of participants, including Francesco Ferrini, Fabio Salbitano, Susana Dominguez Lerena, Yifat Holzman-Gazit, and Rüstem Fatih Albayrak and Alper Akgün Şube Müdürü (representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye). One of the key highlights was the discussion on the contribution of the WG to the State of Mediterranean Forests (SoMF) 2023, a periodic publication that provides a comprehensive analysis of the current state and emerging trends in Mediterranean forests. Prevailing trends in urban forests within the Mediterranean region were identified and will be taken as a reference to develop the contribution for this upcoming publication.
The workshop also helped to identify the following key priorities on which to focus for development over the coming months: a guideline for the selection of species suitable for inclusion in the urban environment (led by Alessio Fini); a database of regional case studies on the successful implementation of urban forestry within the region (led by Urša Vilhar); project proposals for submission in the framework of relevant funding programmes (led by Francesco Ferrini).
The workshop also provided a platform to introduce the upcoming Second World Forum on Urban Forests, planned to be held in Washington D.C., United States of America, from 16 to 20 October 2023. The forum aims to promote healthy, inclusive and resilient cities, highlighting the transformative role of urban forests in achieving these objectives.
For more details on the 16th Workshop and updates from the Silva Mediterranea Working Group on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry, visit the FAO Urban and peri-urban forestry webpage.
Michela Conigliaro (FAO)