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Urban forests to fight climate change: Foresta Italia begins in Rome

Coldiretti and Rete Italia plant three thousand trees northeast of the City: «We will do it again in other places»

A forest conceived to absorb pollutants and serve as a shield against heatwaves. Three thousand trees have been planted, and this is understood as only the first step in the reforestation of the Regional Urban Park in Aguzzano, 52 hectares near the Nature Reserve in the Valle dell’Aniene, in the north-eastern suburbs of Rome. Not far from where last year, in the context of the “Ossigeno” project by the Regione Lazio, 500 small trees had already been planted. These are autochthonous species typical of this area, that will also be cared for in the subsequent phases: English oaks, holly oaks, hornbeams, maples, lindens, ash trees, poplars. The bushes include dog roses, laurel, privets, dogwoods, hawthorns.

The pilot project, which will be replicated in other areas, was enacted across several days last month as part of the national “Foresta Italia”campaign by Rete Clima with Coldiretti and a number of private partners to honour World Earth Day last April 22nd, a day promoted for more than fifty years by the United Nations. In the case of the Aguzzano Park, the project is part of an agreement signed between the IV Municipality of Rome and Rete Clima Impresa Sociale. «To mitigate the so-called heat island, remove pollutants from the air, reduce run-off and flooding phenomena: these are some of the major benefits that this forestation will bring to our territory», comments Federica Desideri, the IV Municipality’s councillor for environmental policies, urban decorum, civil protection and residential policies.


©Federica Desideri

On this occasion, Coldiretti and Rete Clima turned to Italian cities because they offer concessions for areas on which to plant new urban forests to serve as Nature Based Solutions. Doing so would reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, increase biodiversity; it would mitigate the temperature by contrasting the exceptional heat wave monitored by Copernicus, the European Union’s service dedicated to observing the Earth in Southern Europe, the area that last year registered the highest number of days ever suffering strong thermal stress.

Coldiretti and Rete Clima observe that trees cool the spaces in which they grow thanks to both the shade they produce and the transpiration and photosynthesis produced by the leaves, which serve as natural air conditioners. A green urban area covering 1500 square meters, say the promoters, can reduce temperatures by an average of 1.5 degrees and spread the positive effects across a radius of dozens of meters.

Planting trees is an investment in the future. We believe that this could be an opportunity for environmental education and care of the Planet, as well as an economic possibility for our private forest nurseries.

Ettore Prandini, president Coldiretti

«The forestation projects of the Foresta Italia Campaign – explained Paolo Viganò, president of Rete Clima – arise from the desire of businesses to contribute to the protection of the environment with effective concrete actions. All the plants are furthermore accompanied by a phytosanitary passport, which guarantees control, tracking and absence of diseases that if spread could cause significant economic and environmental damage», he concluded. In fact the fight against climate change undoubtedly implies technological progress, but if can often be quite useful to take advantage of what has always been available, and relatively simple as well.


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