Academic association “Eko logic” from Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina together with partner organization “EkoForum” from Belgrade, Serbia launched the project “'Protection of Urban Forests and Green Areas'' with the aim to make influence on the law makers and politicians to bring about change in new or improve present legislation on urban forests and green areas planning, management and protection in two countries.
The project was selected among five projects of the civil society organizations from the whole region of Western Balkans, under the auspices of the regional SECTOR programme Supporting Environmental Civil Society Organisations in southeastern Europe, financed by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented through Regional Environmental Centre (REC) for southeastern Europe based in Szentendre, Hungary.
The project is being implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia from September 2008 to February 2010.
Destruction and fragmentation of urban trees, loss of individual trees and fauna in these areas threaten to ecological integrity and natural systems functioning, which will directly influence life quality in urban areas. Causes of greater destruction of urban trees and green areas in B&H and Serbia are divided into three groups:
1. In this enforced need for higher degree of urban buildings density and population in cities, sustainable spatial and other regulations defined by law and expert rules of protection and urban sustainability of both existing and new lines of trees, decorative plants and fences around residential and other objects are neither defined nor implemented
2. Excessive migration of population (especially caused by war) from rural to urban and suburban areas.
During intensive reconstruction and building of infrastructural systems, and then during frequent and great changes and additions in already finished buildings, green areas in parks, along pedestrian hikes, on pavements and squares are being replaced by impermeable concrete structures and asphalt areas, which obstructs accessibility of neccesary conditions for biological sustainability and functional purpose of urban green areas.
Unfortunately, these topics received just limited attention in B&H and Serbia. Just as growing communities need to upgrade their grey infrastructure such as roads, sewers and utilities, they also need to upgrade their green infrastructure such as open spaces, woodlands, wildlife habitat, water, parks and other natural areas. The main challenge is to make policy tools and instruments to enable land management to be more proactive, less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage urban growth and protection of Urban forests and other urban green areas.
It is not enough to plant a tree and to build a park or some other green area, you also have to make sure that a tree will survive and that there is a whole public awareness about the survival needs of both trees and green areas. For that purpose, there is a need to set up efficient networks among researchers, practitioners, local and state authorities and other urban forests and urban green area`s stakeholders groups for sharing expertise and concerns, what would indeed enrich the dialogue with governments, municipalities, research institutions, NGOs and the private sector in looking for viable solutions towards improving livelihoods. Although politicians and other stakeholders generally agree that woodland and other green space make positive contributions to their city or town, the reality is that urban forestry issues are still far too easily pushed down the political priority list. Standard approaches for high-quality and sustainability based management of the urban forests and urban green areas have to be developed and their obligations have to be assured by the law. That means that first step is making, and then follows putting legislation (law and sub-law acts) on both State and the local level in everyday practice.
In our countries, mentioned legislation is very poorly defined and incomplete, thus there is an idea to make synergic action of local population, scientific and other institutions and local government of the City of Banja Luka and the City of Belgrade, to exchange the ideas and to make impact on politicians and policy makers for making and putting in practice legislation on Urban forests and urban green areas protection. Also, there is a problem in lack of communication between different urban foresters and greenery stakeholders groups, and that is a great problem when a serious action for protection has to be taken. Improvement of communication has to include main communication phases over time involving stakeholders/experts/planners/politicians/interest groups/citizens/users in various degrees. At the heart of this approach is a greater emphasis on the exchange of knowledge and the development of ideas through communication. Improvement of the current situation involves both institutional capacity-building and human capacity-building. It ensures the creation of an enabling environment with appropriate policy and legal frameworks; institutional development, including community participation; and human resources development and strengthening of managerial systems.
Overall objective of the proposed project is a synergetic impact on law makers and politicians for positioning and initiating the processes for formulation, critical assessment, proposals and putting into effect new or improving of present legislation on Urban forests and green areas planning, management and protection (presently - legislation does not exist or is poorly defined), both at the State and the local levels.
Also, objective of this project is upgrading and strengthening of communication channels between all stakeholders interested in planning, management and protection of the Urban forests and green areas for improvement of the current situation which involves both institutional capacity-building and human capacity-building.
Objective of this project is direct and indirect promotion with the aim of awareness strengthening and improvement of population knowledge on importance of urban trees and green areas, together with obeying currently existing legislation.
· Analysed present situation regarding planning, management and protection of the Urban forest and Urban green areas, focusing on current legislation on the State and local levels and also State and local organizations and their tools and mechanisms.
· Educated different target groups about economic, social and ecological importance, and about indispensability of better and improved legislation for more effective and more efficient planning, management and protection of the Urban forests and green areas
· Educated local pupils combined with afforestation of 1 ha with tree plants (to be performed by local pupils).
· Regional information dissemination and promoted importance of Urban forests and green areas, and their protection by law over various electronic and printed media for making outcomes widely available to the public,
· Constructed and established web portal about legislative application in planning, management and protection of the Urban forests and green areas.
· Strenghtened awareness and improved knowledge of population on importance of city green areas and urban trees and ways of their protection, and promotion of importance of obeying currently existing legislation.
· Elaboration of best foreign examples and guidelines formulation to the decision makers about best models for lawful regulation of planning, management and protection of the Urban forests and green areas.
· Formulated, critically assessed and proposed possible elements of legislation (new or improved/upgraded present legislation) on Urban forests and green area.
· Synergetic and direct impact of all involved stakeholders on law makers and politicians, all for initiating the processes for formulation and putting into effect law and sub-law acts on Urban forests and green areas, at both State and the local levels, where precise definition of tools and methods of planning, management and protection will be enclosed - this objective will support the impact of the project on decision makers. Influence on both local and republic authorities and for stronger measures of supervision and providing application of legal framework.
· Detailed overview of different legislation and public opinion surveys
· Constructing and publishing of the Web site.
· Target groups capacity building
· Educational activities for local pupils and afforestation
· Data collecting and making the Study
· Conduction of support petition
· Synergetic impact on the States law and decision makers.
Healthy and functional city green areas sustains and improves quality of life, habitation and people's working ability. Adventages that city green sreas have can be divided into economic, social and ecologic. Among these ecologic influences, emphasis is on positive influence on air quality in urban environments and noise decrease (areas with trees-3 m wide and 1,5 m high can reduce traffic noise for 6-10 dB). Microclimatic conditions are improving during summer and winter (+/- 1°C under smaller areas with trees, and up to +/- 8 °C in larger areas of closely planted trees with connected tree crowns compared to areas without trees), keeping favourable balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide (plants use carbon-dioxide during process of photosynthesis (6 H2O + 6CO2 + light = C6 H12 O6 + 6O2). It is proved that a small increase of oxygen leads to increase of biological productivity of trees, which is very important for decrease of carbon-dioxide and increase of oxygen in the air in urban areas; and has positive influence on protection of solid particles (trees, depending on species, structure, density and age, have a large leaf surface-for example, leaf surface in fir forests can reach even 60 000 m2/ha and keeps dust particles efficiently); harmful particles and gases (for example> some species of maple, with 30 cm diameter, that are close to roads, can absorb: 60 mg of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium, 820 mg of nickel and 5200 mg of lead from the environment during one vegetative period (Coder, 1996); wooden species have a great contribution to ground layer of the atmosphere, in solely mechanical operation-horizontal flow turns into vertical, which leads to ''dilution'', i.e. decrease of harmful gases in ground layer of the atmosphere (example: When 1m3 of air, with 100mg of SO2, passes at the speed of 5m/sec/ha middleaged wooden greenery, it is completely cleaned/refined. The same research shows that green layer only 500m2 wide decreases presence of SO2 and NO for about 70%).
Socio-economical impact of the project will be represented by mutual connections, cooperation and possibility of altogether further engagement on similar activities. Involvement different organizations or representatives of minorities for example, into the project implementation and promoting them and their problems, will be of great social importance. Mutual reaction of different organizations would be more accessible to other funds of governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Social-economical impact on wider population will also be in usage of all social, economic and ecological benefits which quality and health urban forests and green areas can offer.
Dragan Chomich, BSc in Forestry
Tel.: +387 51 219 343
Fax: +387 51 217 843
Mob.: +387 65 392 873
78 000 Banja Luka
Bosnia and Herzegovina
"This project is being implemented with a grant given through the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe's SECTOR Programme. This programme is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).”
PROTECTION OF URBAN FORESTS AND GREEN AREAS
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