Urban forest in Shenyang

Green park in Shaoxing, Goulard SébastienThe Tijuca forest in the city of Rio de Janeiro is claimed to be the largest urban forest in the world. Maybe challengers to this title will come from China?

In a paper published in 2011, Liu Changfu and Li Xiaoma bring to light the importance of urban forests in carbon storage using the case of Shenyang1.

In Europe, some urban forests are several centuries old. They were first preserved to be used as gaming reserves for the nobility, and they then gained strategic and recreational purposes.

Urban forests also play a role in improving environment of cities. Several reforestation programs have been implemented with this objective; a notable example is the transformation of post-industrial sites into urban forests in Germany’s Ruhr.

Shenyang is a very industrial (and polluted) city of Northeast China where authorities have started to develop reforestation programmes. This article shows that this initiative needs to be continued.

The authors used satellite images of Shenyang and its surrounding to distinguish planted areas and the different varieties of trees, and then calculated the amount of carbon stored in several areas. In Shenyang, the carbon stored by the urban forests represents more than 3% of carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. As argued by the authors, more efforts can be pursued to increase the sire of urban forests, but these forests need to be better managed so that trees grow healthy and store more carbon. Forest managers should also pay more attention in planting native trees, which seem to be more efficient than other varieties, and need to preserve primitive forests when possible.

We can also state that protecting and managing forests should be an integral part of urban planning, global approach needs to be adopted.

  1. Liu Changfa & Li, Xiaoma (2011). Carbon storage and sequestration by urban forests in Shenyang, China. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol 11 (2), pp. 121-128 []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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