Best Practices in Urban Forestry

Research Team: Deepak Bawari
LEAD Centre: Centre for Development Finance (CDF)
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Project Geography: India


Cities across the globe are increasing and swallowing at a high pace, estimations show that they are home to more than 50% of the global population. To put this in perspective, at the start of year 1900, only 10% of humans or 165 million people were living in cities, whereas the population figures for year 2005 show that there were 12 megacities across the globe that had population more than 165 million. This unprecedented growth of urban areas is due to population growth and difference in the living standards in the urban and cities.

In India too, urban amenities and growth opportunities attract humans towards cities, no doubt cities are growing at pace that was never witnessed by civilization. The search for services, opportunities and lifestyle is continuously shifting the balance of population from rural to urban areas. With cities fast losing their resilience to hold the population and provide services that are essential for living. The results are unprecedented events of flooding, extreme heat and water scarcity that are threatening the social threads that bind the humans.

The study identifies urban forests as a resource that can help cities develop a buffer against the environmental problems and studies urban forests and green spaces across cities. Not realized by many urban forests and green cover is also home to wildlife and smaller creatures that survive in human proximity. The forest department although manages the urban forests but has little control over the other tree and green cover that is privately and state owned. Lack of trained manpower, unavailability of resources and lack of vision has deteriorated the quality of tree cover within city limits; constant encroachments of forest land and thefts for timber deteriorates the quality of the existing resources reducing their carrying and rejuvenation capacity.

•    Indentifying the tree and green cover management practices in India and compare it with the best practices followed in the best managed cities nationally and internationally
•    Looking into the administrative aspects of urban forestry, the study identifies limitations and motivations for management of urban green space in the cities

Output of the study
Cross comparing the Indian cities with respect to their green cover and urban forestry management practices the study looks into the potential and possibilities of improving the green cover in the cities. Identifying the green city standards followed across the globe and comparing the environment in India indicates toward the vacuum existing in the Indian space and provides directives to the policy makers and city administrators to reconsider the existing green cover management approaches and shift towards a more result oriented quantifiable green management practices.