Posts Tagged ‘green infrastructure’

Green Infrastructure Grants Available for Small Communities

News

Green infrastructure grants available for small communities

Jun 1, 2017 | News and Announcements

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) is pleased to announce the request for proposals (RFP) for the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant Program. The Mini-Grant Program will provide funding to help small and medium sized communities improve water quality, manage stormwater, and enhance community well-being. Grants of up to $20,000 USD will support green infrastructure (GI) implementation in U.S. or Canadian municipalities with fewer than 500,000 people. Eligible projects include GI pilot installations, removing institutional or policy barriers, educational programming, developing partnerships with other agencies, or community GI planning efforts. Applicants are restricted to municipal government agencies, regional authorities, or registered nonprofit organizations serving eligible communities.

Mini-grant recipients will join the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Network and be paired with a mentor who has successfully implemented GI in their community. Both the mini-grant program and mentoring network are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program, led by the GLC with support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. The goal of this program is to catalyze the adoption of GI practices and policies across the Great Lakes basin by providing mid-sized municipalities with resources they frequently lack.

For more information about the RFP and Mentorship Network, please go to our website. The Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Pilot Program will also hold webinars to discuss the RFP and Mentorship Network on June 13, 2017 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and July 10, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (register for these webinars here). The deadline to submit proposals is July 31, 2017.

Why Urban Trees Matter

When you first hear the word “forest” what comes to mind is usually a large green space, possibly even a national or state forest. Miles of undisturbed woods that many only see in movies. Yet that’s not what every forest looks like.

The trees in a city or town collectively make up what’s called an urban forest. These trees are just as beneficial as their more wild siblings. In fact, given that the majority of the Earth’s population now lives in urban areas, you might argue that they’re more important.

The benefits of urban trees may not be as obvious, but they’re still important. This article by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations gives 9 excellent reasons why we should think a little more about the trees that surround us in the cities we work, live, and play in.

Building greener cities: nine benefits of urban trees

Find out why trees in cities matter

30 Nov 2016 

For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities. By 2050, this number is expected to increase to 66 percent. The shift from rural to urban areas, mainly in Africa and Asia, is due to poverty and related socio-economic factors.

For the most part, the rapid expansion of cities takes place without any land use planning strategy and the resulting human pressure has highly damaging effects on forests, landscapes, as well as green areas in and around cities. The environmental impacts of urbanization are often intensified by climate change and include increased pollution, decreased availability of food and resources, as well as increased poverty and frequency of extreme climatic events.

Urban trees can help to mitigate some of the negative impacts and social consequences of urbanization, and thus make cities more resilient to these changes. Here are nine ways in which urban trees and forests contribute to making cities socio-economically and environmentally more sustainable:

  1. Trees can contribute to the increase of local food and nutrition security, providing food such as fruits, nuts and leaves for both human consumption and fodder. Their wood, in turn, can be used for cooking and heating.
  2. Trees play an important role in increasing urban biodiversity, providing  plants and animals with a favourable habitat, food and protection.
  3. A mature tree can absorb up to 150 kg of CO2 per year. As a result, trees play an important role in climate change mitigation. Especially in cities with high levels of pollution, trees can improve air quality, making cities healthier places to live in.
  4. Strategic placement of trees in cities can help to cool the air between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, thus reducing the urban “heat island” effect, and helping urban communities to adapt to the effects of climate change.
  5. Large trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particulates. They absorb pollutant gases (such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and sulfer oxides) and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt or smoke out of the air by trapping them on leaves and bark.
  6. Research shows that living in close proximity of urban green spaces and having access to them, can improve physical and mental health, for example by decreasing high blood pressure and stress. This, in turn, contributes to the well-being of urban communities.
  7. Mature trees regulate water flow and play a key role in preventing floods and reducing the risk of natural disasters. A mature evergreen tree, for instance, can intercept more than 15 000 liters of water per year.
  8. Trees also help to reduce carbon emissions by helping to conserve energy. For example, the correct placement of trees around buildings can reduce the need for air conditioning by 30 percent, and reduce winter heating bills by 20-50 percent.
  9. Planning urban landscapes with trees can increase property value, by up to 20 percent, and attract tourism and business.

A city with well-planned and well-managed green infrastructure becomes more resilient, sustainable and equitable in terms of nutrition and food security, poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and ecosystems conservation. Throughout their lifetime, trees can thus provide a benefit package worth two to three times more than the investment made in planting and caring for them.

Planting trees today is, therefore, essential for future generations! Plant a tree and share your photo with us via Instagram (tag @UNFAO) and Twitter (tag @FAOForestry)!