Green fingers and colorful flowering strips

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Weihenstephan Forum: Contributions to an Urban Green Infrastructure

Diverse roadside vegetation can benefit insect diversity.
Diverse roadside vegetation can benefit insect diversity.

The loss of landscape structures and the associated decline of insects and other wildlife contribute to the biodiversity crisis. However, current environmental changes are not only leading to species declines but are also having negative impacts on ecosystem services, including those in cities. The upgrade of urban "green infrastructure" in many countries is considered to be able to contribute significantly to solutions. City landscape designs for plants, animals, and people will be discussed at the 15th Weihenstephan Forum on October 21. This hybrid event is being organized by the Department of Restoration Ecology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Diverse and multifunctional green spaces in urban areas face particular challenges such as soil sealing, warmer and drier urban climates and a high population density. "Yet, there are great opportunities here. Green areas can facilitate climate adaptation and environmental enhancement through cooling and air humidification, better water absorption during heavy rains, and providing refuge for urban animals. Thus, also the life quality for the urban populations is increased," says Johannes Kollmann, Professor of Restoration Ecology at the TUM School of Life Sciences. "In addition to the aesthetic qualities and recreational functions of public and private green spaces in urban areas, greater effort should be made to promote biodiversity and certain ecological functions that such spaces provide for buffering climate extremes."

One strategy for promoting urban biodiversity, functionality, and climate adaptation is to create interconnected semi-natural wildflower areas. They can provide additional benefits for the public e.g. by experiencing nature, social interaction, and environmental education.

The establishment of functional green infrastructure is currently being researched and tested in many cities. User demands on open space as well as recreational functions have to be included into the designs. Still, there are unresolved questions with regard to the practical, functional, and climate-related implementation of such areas. For example, there are still knowledge gaps regarding the ecological interrelationships of wildflower areas in urban landscapes. These areas need to be addressed in close cooperation between scientists and communities. These topics will be presented and discussed at the Weihenstephan Forum.

Hybrid event on October 21, 2022

Representatives from the scientific, business, and political communities, as well as civil society, are invited to the Weihenstephan forum at the Weihenstephan International Beverage Center, Mendelstraße 4, 85354 Freising Germany on October 21. Presentations and discussions about the ecological functionality of urban wildflower strips are also being simultaneously streamed for online-participation via Zoom.

Please note that although the event is free of charge and open to everyone, registration for on-site participation is required by October 13 and you also need to register for online participation. All admitted registrants will receive final information and an access link for Zoom sometime before the event. The event will be held partly in English and partly in German with no simultaneous translation.