National Urban Forestry Unit
By Dr Nick Michael
The UK's National Urban Forestry Unit (NUFU) is a charity working in partnership with central and local government, the corporate sector and other environmental charities to help create a more tree-rich environment as an important means of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who live and work in towns and cities.
Each tree makes a difference, but the bold concept of the urban forest offers scope for significant environmental, social and economic benefits. Cleaner air, flood protection, increased wildlife and land reclamation are a few of the contributions that a strategic approach to woodland establishment can make. What is more, research has shown that as little as three minutes in natural green surroundings can reduce human stress.
All kinds of towns and cities in the UK are embracing the concept of urban forestry and are investing in greenspace. In the old industrial settlements of South Yorkshire, the West Midlands, Central Scotland and Merseyside, reclaiming derelict land is central to success. In cities such as Belfast, Birmingham and Edinburgh, public parks and river corridors provide the functional green infrastructure. In growth areas such as Thames Gateway, the urban forest is being planned as an integral part of new development.
NUFU produces a range of publications which describe best practice in urban forestry, including regular case studies to which you can subscribe. The publications, many of which are free, can be ordered online from the Unit's website.
NUFU is running a programme of one day study tours to examine best practice in urban forestry on 21 June in the Black Country and 6 July 2005 in Greater Manchester. NUFU's national conference, on the subject of trees and risk management, will be held in July (date to be confirmed).
Pictures © National Urban Forestry Unit