Robert HOSTNIKa, Jurij KOBEb, Dragan MATIJAŠIĆa, Tina SIMONČIČa, Luka SEŠELb
Institution: aSlovenian Forest Service; bCity of Ljubljana – Slovenia
Keywords: Urban Forest Management, Danube Region, Participation
The presentation deals with the new initiative of the URBforDAN project, a partnership of seven cities in the Danube region with population of 6,5 mio, 35 km2 of urban forests and 15 mio visitors per year. The City of Ljubljana (Slovenia) as leading partner has brought together cities of Budapest (Hungary), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Vienna (Austria), Zagreb (Croatia), Belgrade (Serbia) and Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine). Together with associated partner cities of Podgorica (Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Prague (Czech Republic) the partnership includes 10 countries and 8 capital cities.
All cities face similar challenges. All manage substantial urban forest areas within their city limits, which attract many users (citizens, tourists) and many stakeholders (managers, owners, interest groups). Increasing number of users of urban and peri-urban forests in Danube cities, diverse activities implemented in them and increasing demand for “green tourism” in urban areas indicate, that forests potentials within city limits, as well as its ecosystem services, are currently far underestimated. On the other hand, uncoordinated management, increasing pressures and conflicts between key actors threaten these important but vulnerable natural habitats to the point, where some of them are being severely affected.
The project is based on participatory approach in the context of joint development of integrated management plans elaborated specifically for urban forest areas. It focuses on the collaboration among key actors (local public authorities, forest managers, forest landowners, forest users and visitors, experts and non-governmental organizations), especially on their active participation in project activities and actions.
The project is introducing participatory integrated management of urban forests, including development of a proposal of financial compensation model for landowners. It will deliver a new type of Integrated Multi-use Management Plans (IMMP) on the strategic and operational level. While strategic parts are targeting a wider area of urban forests of each city, operational parts will be prepared for pre-selected focus areas to resolve their specific challenges. The INTERREG project URBforDAN includes also implementation of the operational plans with installation of urban forest equipment in 7 focus areas to resolve conflicts and support new sustainable development opportunities.