This pilot project demonstrates that the NFI data, in combination with the DEGURBA approach, provides existing data on European urban forests. Now that we know what we have, there is potential to quantify and qualify the state and trends of European urban forests. Moving forward we can draw on existing policies and concepts such as ecosystem services to model what urban forests can give back to us. Existing EU policy strategies, such as green infrastructure and the biodiversity strategy, provide common policy platforms to build upon and link to urban forests. Such platforms can be used to develop common indicators for further development of the NFI, integrating new biodiversity and green infrastructure indicators into the NFI. I-Tree will be launched in Europe in spring 2018 and will provide a common set of indicators and data streams for urban ecosystem services.
These data protocols could potentially be integrated into the routine measurements of the NFI to enhance current data collection and make links to tree-specific data. In a concrete sense, such data could be applied to the management and planning of urban forests connected with e.g. infrastructure plans. Further steps could be taken to collect and model ecosystem services based on national forest preference and use studies. Additional potential exists to draw on national health data to model the human health and well-being outcomes of European urban forests.
This workshop further outlined large knowledge gaps that demand further exploration to fully realise the potential of what NFI data can tell us about European urban forests. Key questions arise concerning the basic definition of a forest.