A more biodiverse and greener Barcelona is on the cards

by Deborah Cater
Montjuic, one of the spots for a greener more biodiverse Barcelona

At the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, Barcelona set itself the goal of having 160 hectares more greenery in the city by 2030. In the meantime, the Spanish city sharpens the vision with more natural greenery.

The Municipality has drawn up the Plan Natura 2021-2030 to make a more natural and greener Barcelona. Residents will be able to get in touch with nature closer to home. More nature in the city is not only good for plants and animals, but also provides products such as drinking water, clean air and pollination of crops.

More greenery in the city provides shade and coolness and is good for people’s health, both mentally and physically. Trees also retain CO2 and certain plants and animals can be used to combat pests.

A greener Barcelona

The authority is initially working on creating a more biodiverse and greener Barcelona city. It wants to strengthen the green structure and connect it with green spaces around the city, such as the Serra de Collserola nature park and the Llobregat and Besòs rivers. In neighbourhoods with a lack of greenery, opportunities for greenery on roofs, walls and in housing blocks is possible.

The municipality also has an action plan for various animal species, such as the squirrel, sparrow, birds of prey, bats, reptiles and butterflies. The plan includes ways to improve the living environment of these animals. Examples are, making pools in the city more natural, or placing nest boxes in buildings. The municipality wants to reduce the number of animals of which there are too many in the city, such as pigeons, stray cats and the Asian hornet.

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Natural maintenance

In addition, the municipality will strengthen biodiversity by maintaining public green spaces in a natural and environmentally friendly way. That means lawns are mowed differently so that flowers can grow. There are also plants around trees that help against pests in those trees. Some parks will get a much more natural look. More natural greenery ensures ecological processes in which other plants and animals find a place in the city.

Together with residents

Finally, Barcelona wants to give residents, organisations and institutions an active role in the conservation and development of biodiversity. This is already happening by allocating pieces of land as vegetable gardens for seniors, or creating urban gardens. This way people can eat more products from their own soil. There are also planting days in the spring for students and institutions, educational programs and initiatives such as BioBlitzBCN, where everyone who wants to participate identifies the species in a certain area.

If all goes well, Barcelona will become an urban nature reserve. There are already nature reserves in Barcelona in several places, such as in the old quarry at the foot of the Olympic stadium. Places that lend themselves well as nature reserves are the steep slopes of the Montjuïc, the park de los Tres Turons, the banks of the river Besòs and the Parc dels Esculls in the sea at the Plaça del Fòrum.

In recent green projects, such as the Plaza de las Glorias, the greenery has already been arranged more naturally. This makes it pleasant for people with many native flowers and shrubs on display.

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