KOCHI: The ailing green lungs of the city will soon get a healing touch as Cities4Forests project - an initiative by World Resource Institute (WRI) in association with Kochi Corporation - was officially kick-started here last week. Cities4Forests provides the forum and technical support for linking cities and forests.
“Cities4Forests is a movement to catalyse political, social and economic support among civic bodies and urban citizens to integrate the nearby and faraway forests into city development plans and programmes. Participants share an aspiration to help reduce deforestation, restore forests (including more having trees in cities), and manage forests more sustainably. Our goal is to amplify current best practices and extend the deliberate city-forest relationship to the global scale at which cities and forests interact,” said Aparna Vijaykumar, senior project associate, Cities and Transport, WRI India.
She said the major components of the project include a Mapathon, where the blue and green areas of the city will be identified and recorded.
“It comprises preparing the map of green patches, water bodies surrounding it and city-specific details to derive a landscape restoration strategy. The areas where we can plant more trees will be identified in the greater Kochi area. The water bodies which need to be conserved are also to be listed,” she added. The areas which are vulnerable to climatic change, floods and other natural calamities will be identified. “Another major component is devising a climate-resilient action plan. The focus is on public spaces in the city to make them more accessible and citizen-friendly,” said Aparna.
The risk assessment and financial assessment of the action plan will be carried out and the proposals are to be submitted before the civic body. The Corporation /local bodies can take up the action plan and look into the possibilities of availing Central and state government funds.“We are holding discussions with the Corporation and district administration to start the preliminary mapping by October. The discussions are to be held with the management of a few colleges to get students for mapping,” said Aparna.
Advantages of cities4forests
Technical assistance and programmes on how to implement or expand urban tree programmes and increase citizen involvement in conservation.
Tools for calculating greenhouse gas emissions
Location planning guide for air quality, stormwater management and other urban development goals.