Um novo ecossistema: florestas urbanas construídas pelo Estado e pelos ativistas

abstract Historically, the expansion of cities resulted in the replacement of natural landscape by urban environments, resulting in environmental degradation through changes in soil cover, hydrological systems, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity, making cities particularly vulnerable to climate changes. Environmental restoration in cities is a measure to promote life quality, and urban forests play a key role in restoring the quality of the urban environment. They provide valuable ecosystem services for maintaining biodiversity, ensuring human health, and social well-being. As everyone has the right to live in a balanced, healthy and common use environment essential to suppor quality of life, urban green areas are an interdisciplinary issue of collective concern. It is the responsibility of the government to regulate, plant and manage urban trees in order to standardize urban afforestation by planting trees at predetermined distances according to the size of each species. However, the vacuum in the greening process left by the State is being filled by activists who, in general, use a different protocol that aims at higher tree density based on the notion of ecological succession. By promoting the restoration of ecosystem services, both initiatives tend to bring significant benefits to large cities such as São Paulo. However, the complexity of the urban landscape requires a systemic evaluation of tree planting to define spatial adequacy and optimize benefits. The planting of urban forests should not aim to recreate pre-urban natural conditions, but rather to develop green areas integrated to the urban network that guarantee a healthy and balanced environment while preserving social interactions. By perceiving the urban environment as a complete ecosystem, it is possible to establish criteria that optimize the benefits of urban afforestation. These criteria should be based on technical and scientific knowledge, and take into account social needs, so that the best method is chosen on a case-by-case basis.