Forecasting agroforestry ecosystem services provision in urban regeneration projects : Experiences and perspectives from milan

Zanzi, Ambrogio; Andreotti, Federico; Vaglia, Valentina; Alali, Sumer; Orlando, Francesca; Bocchi, Stefano


The expansion of urban agglomerates is causing significant environmental changes, while the demand and need for sustainability keep on growing. In this context, urban and peri-urban agriculture can play a crucial role, mainly if associated with an agroecological approach. Indeed, the extensive use of living fences and tree rows can improve the environmental quality, assuring ecosystem services (ES), developing a sustainable urban food system and increasing local productions and the related socio-economic improvements. This study aims to assess the benefits of an agroecological requalification of a dismissed peri-urban area in the South Milan Agricultural Regional Park (Italy), by evaluating two possible scenarios, both involving planting trees and shrubs in that area. The software I-Tree Eco simulates the ecosystem services provision of planting new hedgerows, evaluating the benefits over 30 years. The study underlines the difference between the two scenarios and how the planted area becomes an essential supplier of regulating ecosystem services for the neighbourhoods, increasing carbon storage and air pollution removal. Results were then analysed with a treemap, to better investigate and understand the relationship between the different ecosystem services, showing a notable increase in carbon sequestration at the end of the simulation (at year 30). The study shows a replicable example of a methodology and techniques that can be used to assess the ES in urban and peri-urban environments.