London's 3000 parks offer a wonderful dose of nature, making the city one of the greenest urban centers in the world. London is the largest urban forest in the world, 388, 400 acres, a real forest made up of more than 8 million trees. Our capital is full of trees. In fact, although it may not always seem like it, London is so full of foliage that it is technically a forest.
That's according to a United Nations definition that states that a forest is any place that has at least 20 percent trees. The London Urban Forest Association is a network of organizations that collaborate to protect, manage and improve the capital's trees and forests. The association meets quarterly to share information and data, help inform tree-related programs in London and promote the benefits of the city's urban forest. In London, 8.6 million people are crammed into just 600 square miles along with 8.3 million trees and millions and millions of other plants, insects and animals.
According to a UN definition, this turns the city into a forest. The Forestry Commission agrees and describes London as the largest urban forest in the world. And it's a very special urban forest. In East London, Tree Musketeers care for Wick Woodland in Hackney Marshes and have a nursery to grow trees for planting.
Trees and madness are the remains of an ancient grand property known as Fairwood, which, for a time, housed the mayor of London. Coupled with the much-needed upgrade to London's Victorian sewer system, trees and vegetation provide a natural barrier against flooding by preventing runoff from the surface and absorbing rainwater, slowing the passage of stormwater into the sewer system. These will include well-known tree species such as London Plane, Oaks, Sycamore and Hornbeam, along with the rare Wild Service Tree and the surprising Tree of Heaven. A colleague of mine recently sent me an article about London as the home of the world's largest urban forest.
Turn back the clock a few centuries and London was a smaller city surrounded by countryside, which included large areas of forest. Unlike other cities (Paris, for example), London has a large number of trees and greenery in the heart of the metropolis. The project was planned, managed and trained by members of Forest Research, Treeconmics, the Forestry Commission, the London Tree Officers Association and other partners. Recognizing the many contributions of urban forest beyond intrinsic beauty provides baseline information and the basis for improved planning and management of trees as assets to ensure that future generations receive the benefits.
The i-Tree study, conducted by volunteers, charities and government agencies, such as the Forest Commission and Natural England, sheds a bright light on the urban jungle. In fact, every London district has a department responsible for the trees in its parks and streets. In addition, the i-Tree Eco Project estimates that London has 8.4 million trees, that is, almost one tree for every Londoner.