Forests for sustainable cities

Forests for sustainable cities



forests for sustainable cities urban areas are home to more than half the world's population they drive the global economy but are responsible for more than two-thirds of the world's energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions their importance continues to grow by 2050 we expect that two-thirds of the global population will live in cities as the world continues to urbanize cities need to play a leading role in fighting climate change they also need to deal with challenges linked to their residents increasing demands for water food energy and materials for example the increase in population means more new homes schools and other buildings we have not yet built 50% of the urban fabric which will be required globally by 2050 but the construction sector is currently dominated by materials like concrete and steel whose production is not environmentally friendly if we want to tackle climate change and other urgent environmental problems we need to change our approach how can our forests help to build sustainable cities and make them climate smart our forests provide wood which is the only significant construction material that is renewable and can be grown sustainably using wood in construction is one of the most effective carbon sequestration and capture technologies we have if we replace concrete and steel with wood we can reduce the carbon footprint of a building by around 50 percent another way to improve the sustainability of our cities is to plant trees and urban forests trees can cool cities by between two and eight centigrade if you plant trees near buildings it can cut air-conditioning use by 30% and reduce heating energy use by 20 to 50% urban forests clean the air reduce flood risk and offer health benefits like lowering stress forests outside urban areas are important to one third of the world's largest cities get a significant proportion of their drinking water from forested areas wood trees and forests are the backbone for sustainable cities at the European Forest Institute we connect knowledge to action

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