Madrid Building The Biggest Metropolitan Forest in Europe
Madrid will be building a green belt to fight back against the effects of climate change. Madrid is one of several major cities, from Bangkok, Thailand to Medellin, Colombia, making great efforts to go green. The Madrid effort is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global push to revive natural spaces lost to development. The Spanish capital aims to reduce heat and improve air quality across the city by encircling itself with a wall of green.
As part of Madrid's urban forest project, nearly a half-million trees will be planted along a 46-mile (75-kilometer) perimeter. When the trees reach maturity, they should be able to absorb around 175,000 tons of CO2 per year. The project will include black pine, beech, Spanish juniper, and various oak species, these trees require little water or specialized soil conditions and can survive in arid conditions. Walking and cycling trails will course through the forests, which officials say could be connected by “ecoducts”, ribbons of wilderness that run between factories and homes.
According to Mariano Fuentes to reporters, “What we want to do is to improve the air quality in the whole city, to fight the ‘heat island’ effect that is happening inside the city, to absorb the greenhouse emissions generated by the city, and to connect all the existing forest masses that already exist around the city ... It’s not only about cars, but also a pedestrianization strategy, the creation of environmental corridors in every district… and most of all… to engage citizens in this new green culture, it is essential for every city to face the near future in the best conditions.”
The greenway will offer shade, a habitat for wildlife, and a place of respite from the polluted air of the megacity.