MAR 2017  

An urban forest is essentially a forest or a collection of trees with its own ecosystem that grows within a city, town, or suburb. In a wider sense, it may include any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements. Importantly, urban forests play an important role in ecology of human habitats in a variety of ways: they filter air, water, and sunlight; provide habitation to animals; and recreational area for the city dwellers. Urban forestry or essentially 'management of trees' contributes to physiological, sociological, and economic well-being of the society. Urban parks, gardens, and natural landscapes are better known for their intangible benefits to the human society.

With this background, our cover story on 'Urban Forests for Ecologically Smart Cities' emphasizes that unorganized and unplanned growth of urban areas and a desperate lack of infrastructure are the main causes of serious environmental problems in India that we have been left to deal with. Massive rural to urban migration always puts huge pressure on ecological services and natural resources in the city. All such activities cause more urban sprawl, noise, and air pollution. In the race for more and more short-term income generating activities, our biodiversity, forests, and urban green spaces often become the neglected aspects. The enhancement of urban green spaces or urban forests is one of the ways of making cities more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to live in, which also has the capacity to mitigate the adverse effects of urbanization in a sustainable way.

Our cover story also highlights the fact that although tree planting drives are happening throughout India to improve urban green spaces, but we need 'smarter' efforts in this direction. The lack of space is always an obstacle in the drive to improve the urban forest cover in our cities, as are the political and economic pressures for the overuse of the urban forests and natural spaces; and the encroachment of land. These challenges can, however, be addressed through implementation of better public green space policies. Delhi provides an example of how urban green spaces can be nurtured. Identification and recycling of Brownfield sites in the cities could be done to convert these into green spaces/food forests. Corporates can also align their corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans in restoring and maintaining the urban green spaces.

The special report this month raises the important issue regarding the willows of the Wular Lake in Kashmir Valley. Studies have been done by researchers who have analysed the effects of the removal of the willows, on the lake, to increase the capacity of the lake and to cut back on the flood risk. The article looks at the impacts of the removal of these willows, on various environmental spin-offs that the trees give to the area. The report also assesses if it is finally worth cutting down the trees or saving them..

Ajay Mathur, Director-General, TERI
© TERI 2017

Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013

The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in India’s CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that “CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers.”

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on February 4 and the finalists are announced on February 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until February 4 at or by e-mail to

Matt Carr
+44 (0) 20 7375 7248