Institution: University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg – Germany
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Climate Change, Cologne, Mapping, GIS, Urban Forest Management
The worldwide process of urbanization leads to rapid climate and environmental changes in cities as well as on a global scale. Thus, it is important to not only take action in climate protection but also make climate adaption a priority in cities, to ensure the quality of life of citizens.
In this study the regulating ecosystem services (ES) of urban forests are analyzed, based on the forest owned by the city of Cologne, Germany. A GIS analysis of the forest stands within the city’s boundaries was performed, using action guidelines established by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, thereby testing their practicability.
The main objective of the study was to simplify the process of ecosystem service evaluation, making it a tool that cities can realistically apply. ES are therefore analyzed using a system of indicators that does provide less accuracy than local data collections but is more cost-effective and requires fewer expert personnel when performing the analyses. The results can then be used by the city council to communicate the importance of the city’s forests and can offer guidance on methods of management for the forestry department.
The resulting maps visualize the ecosystem services of air particle filtration, temperature regulation and water regulation. The findings show that the city’s afforestation efforts in the last century are fulfilling their intended purpose and are benefitting the population greatly. The outer green belt on the western side of the river Rhine is of particular importance as it provides all analyzed ecosystem services at the same time.