Dr. Mohammad Asrafur Rahman, currently working as a Humboldt post-doctoral Research Fellow at Technical University of Munich, applied and won a competition for European Young Urban Forester of the Year 2016. He will be awarded with commendation, cash award and free subscription for one year to Urban Forestry Urban Greening!
Awarding committee, led by Clive Davies, recognized excellence of Dr. Mohammad A. Rahman in urban forestry practice and urban forestry research. His PhD thesis entitled “Effects of Species and Rooting Conditions on the Growth and Cooling Performance of Urban Trees” was awarded the “Outstanding PhD Award” with seven research articles published in journals of academic repute. His academic expertise and research experience made him a suitable candidate for the award 2016 and we hope it will further encourage his devotion in the field of Urban Forestry.
Your favourite urban forest? Where is it, why is it special?
My favourite urban forest is the “Englischer Garten” situated within the centre of the bustling city of Munich, Germany. With an area of 3.7 km2, the Englischer Garten is one of the Europe’s largest urban public parks stretching from the city centre to the northeastern city limits. Due to its location and offerings of numerous services it attracts both locals and tourists equally. Cyclists and hikers can enjoy a 78-kilometer-long network of green paths surrounded by dark stands of mature oak and maple before emerging to a beautiful vista of the city offered by the Monopteros along with the hill. If not, they will surely find Kleinhesseloher See, a lovely lake at the centre of the park or a beer garden right by the Chinese Tower. This 370 hectare urban forest is not only serving the society as an natural recreational area but also as the green lung for over a million people living in the Munich’s agglomeration.
Which tree represents your personality and why?
I think maple tree represents me better. One of the dominant urban tree species which can adapts to situations with tolerance to hard conditions. With full of imaginations and originality I can see the appeal of living in a city. Self-confident; however, often shy, always keen to learn new experiences and deep dense extended canopy to shade the people underneath. With its magical autumn color it provides the comfort and support to people in their personal journey.
In your country of current residence – are urban forests more important than »regular, non-urban« forests?
In Germany, people have started to realize the importance of urban forests more than ever. Since most of the people now live in compacted cities, the urban forests or overall ecosystems already became an absolute necessity to provide environmental, economic and social benefits to them. With ongoing climate change and urbanization the integrated concept of urban greenery has been recognized to improve the quality of urban life and environment. Most of the residents now want to have denser urban tree canopy to get the proven benefits of trees in a city.
The funniest moment that you experienced in your job?
In June 2015 we were working with Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) devices within a public square in Munich. TLS devices contain two big boxes attached with a computer and obviously with a scanning device, the whole system looks like a movie shooting device especially with other sensing devices attached with the trees. Couple of pedestrians stood there over hours and observed carefully what scene we were shooting :)! After that they approached us and asked whether they are in the film or not. When we explained them we are rather measuring the tree crowns their face became so faint that I can never forget.
What is your opinion on EFUF 2016 organization, its visibility and success?
I think EFUF is a unique platform for urban forestry practitioners; academicians as well as policy makers to stand together and exchange views. On the onset of gradual recognition of Urban Forestry as a profession this Forum can play a vital role in harmonizing cross-boundary co-operation in terms of what we already know, what we don’t know and what need to be done in future. In this regard this Forum has made significant progress within last few years and the annual meetings are getting increasingly successful. However, I still believe this is the beginning and we need to make the forum even more visible using as many channels as possible.
More advertisement on social media, printed media as well as more announcements in related conferences would certainly help to make the platform even more inclusive.
Additionally, web hosting of conference talks, live twitting and introduction of more award winning opportunities to join the conference free of cost for few excellent papers might make the upcoming events even more attractive to a range of participants.
Dr. Mohammad Rahman was interviewed by Špela Planinšek, Slovenian Forestry Institute. Since he could not attend EFUF meeting in Slovenia, we made an interview with him via mail.
Competition for European Young Urban Forester of the Year is supported by MD2 Consultants Ltd.