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SUSTAINABILITY & BUDGET CUTS IN GREEN SPACE MANAGEMENT 
Which way 
forward ? 
Howard Wood B.Sc.(Hons)
Following last year’s theme: 
“Sustainable Landscape Management. 
A case study of Lyon Parks Department” 
Reminder 
WHAT A...
Twelve years ago Lyon Parks Department put into place its own 
Sustainable Landscape programme. 
The decision was motivate...
It was necessary to find practical solutions to problems, for example : 
• Reduce the green waste budget (250 000 € for 30...
Lyon’s parks and open spaces in a few figures : 
395 ha of Parks & open spaces, (= 9m² per inhabitant) 
55 000 trees in pa...
A year of trial projects on different sites was undertaken, before being 
adopted across Lyon : 
•Green waste was processe...
Three thermal weed killing techniques were tried and compared 
Herbicides were reduced by 70% in 2 years and by > 90% in 5...
Grass cutting areas, height and frequency were reviewed and modified. 
Saving 
45 700€
New low maintenance planting schemes
urban meadows replaced > 70% of traditional bedding 
Saving : 48 500€
Needy and underprivileged members of 
the community were offered training and 
employment. - 10% of contract values.
THE RESULTS WERE POSITIVE : 
•Increased local community employment, 
•Increased environmental benefits, 
▪ minus 20,000km ...
In order to measure the economic benefits of changing maintenance 
practices we need to : 
1. Classify Green Infrastructur...
Costs can be calculated 
on a m² basis. 
Site : Chambovet 59,850m² 
Activities Time Surface Area Total Cost €/m² 
Grass cu...
Differentiated Management is appealing for its simplicity. 
Each class will have its own specification document defining q...
By combining ; 
1.A classification of Park’s 
maintenance’, 
2.Known surface areas, 
3.Costs, 
It is easy to visualise, ju...
Parks – Influences, Choices & Decisions 
Political, Planning 
& Legislative, 
Utility & 
Design 
Community 
interest group...
Is everyone on 
Your sustainable board ? 
maintenance 
programme 
How and when will 
you communicate 
with the public ? 
I...
Number of public parks and recreational public space in the 
UK 27,000 
Known surface area of 12,000 of those parks. 66,00...
We have briefly looked at some maintenance practices and what can be achieved. 
What does the future hold ? 
1. Landscape ...
HOW MUCH TECHNICAL & SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION CAN 
PLANNERS & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS ACCESS 
? 
IS LONG TERM MAINTENANCE EVER ...
Landscape planning & design 
Parks and green spaces in a town or city generally reflect their socio-economic 
evolution, t...
Trees 
Meadows, 
Sports fields, 
Water features, 
Lawns, 
Flower beds, 
Woodland, 
Hedges, 
Seating, 
Games areas, 
Chemic...
For example, look at just one street tree ? 
Roots How far do they extend, ? Will this 
impact on buildings uplift pavemen...
New landscape projects and existing green infrastructure needs to balance 
ecological coherence with amenity use : 
•Re-cr...
CARBON AUDITS - Is your green infrastructure 
Carbon negative ? 
CO2 
Or carbon positive ? 
CO2 
A Carbon Audit of Romsey ...
A typical British park … 
Surface areas m² 
Flower beds 152 
Shrub beds 469 
Hard surfaces 2016 
Play area 658 
Bowling Gr...
Increasing kg. CO2 / yr. in Fagus sylvatica over 105 years, averaged over 5 yr. intervals.
SUMMARY OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION 
m² 
CO2 content 
kg 
annual sequestration 
CO2 kg / yr 
Shrub beds 469 m² 3 735 negligibl...
As part of an environmental research programme, near 
Angers, root growth and carbon sequestration in grass species 
and v...
CO2 SUMMARY OF TURF GRASSES 
Varieties of 
Min. - Max. annual 
sequestration 
t.CO2 eq / yr. 
Average annual 
sequestratio...
If we project the 2ha. Romsey War Memorial park to 150 000 ha of 
U.K. parks in the same proportions on trees, shrubs and ...
As part of a research programme to develop low maintenance grass mixes, 
grass species were compared in clipping trials be...
Varieties of Min. - Max. weight of 
clippings t.ha/yr. 
Lolium perenne 3.04 - 7.39 
Festuca rubra rubra 4.79 - 12.65 
Fest...
Conclusions 
1.Various sustainable landscape maintenance programmes have been 
successfully put into place in European cit...
“Sustainable Landscape Management does not mean abandoning 
maintenance. Rather it remains a challenge to achieve horticul...
THANK YOU 
Howard Wood 
hwood@landscape-environment.com
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Howard Wood - Presentation at The Sustainable Green Infrastructure Conference 2014 - Sustainability & Budget Cuts in Green Space Management

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Howard Wood, Director of Landscape & Sustainable Services Ltd, after graduating in Environmental Sciences in 1979, has been leading initiatives in Sustainable Landscape Management in Europe and the UK for over 35 years.

In 2002 the Lyon City Parks Department commissioned Howard to deliver a sustainable practice training programme for their 300 gardeners and technicians. This resulted in environmentally friendly solutions being applied to existing maintenance operations and a significant reduction on the park’s operational budget. Howard has featured in television documentaries in France speaking about ecological dynamics and Green Infrastructure and speaks at conferences throughout Europe. Howard has been working on projects in Tunisia, Morocco and the Ivory Coast and presented a Sustainable Landscape Management Strategy to the City of Lisbon.

In 2010 Howard carried out a first ever carbon audit for a City Park in the UK which not only looked at its carbon footprint but compared it with carbon sequestration in trees, shrubs, grasses and topsoil. BAM Nuttall requested Howard to carry out field experiments on urban flower mixes for the London 2012 Olympic Park. Current themes of work include Urban Meadow flower displays in the UK and research on Carbon Sequestration in grass varieties with DLF France.

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Howard Wood - Presentation at The Sustainable Green Infrastructure Conference 2014 - Sustainability & Budget Cuts in Green Space Management

  1. 1. SUSTAINABILITY & BUDGET CUTS IN GREEN SPACE MANAGEMENT Which way forward ? Howard Wood B.Sc.(Hons)
  2. 2. Following last year’s theme: “Sustainable Landscape Management. A case study of Lyon Parks Department” Reminder WHAT ARE SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPES ? Sustainable landscapes are where natural cycles perpetuate without man’s influence… There are no inputs of fertiliser and pesticides. There is no need to cut grass, to prune, weed or take away unwanted biomass …. Everything is recycled naturally… usually where it falls For environmental and financial reasons interest is now being shown in adapting sustainability principles to urban landscapes.
  3. 3. Twelve years ago Lyon Parks Department put into place its own Sustainable Landscape programme. The decision was motivated by : 1.An ever increasing budget expenditure, 2.Local politicians demanding more environmental awareness, A programme with three distinct themes was put into place : 1.Environment - Each measure should have a favourable environmental effect. 2.Training - The workforce needed to adopt new procedures and techniques. 3.Financial - Costs were monitored
  4. 4. It was necessary to find practical solutions to problems, for example : • Reduce the green waste budget (250 000 € for 3000 tons / yr.) • Reduce the time spent grass cutting, • Find less labour intensive floral displays, • Achieve the political aim of 0% pesticide use.
  5. 5. Lyon’s parks and open spaces in a few figures : 395 ha of Parks & open spaces, (= 9m² per inhabitant) 55 000 trees in parks, 23 000 along roadsides, 75 fountains, 135 monuments and statues 175 play areas, (> 675 features) 800 000 bedding plants (3 flowers - national classification) A 19ha nursery An 8ha botanical garden with 6 500m² of greenhouses and a collection of 15000 species and varieties of which 1400 are in danger of extinction. An 8 ha zoo with 800 animals > 300 gardeners
  6. 6. A year of trial projects on different sites was undertaken, before being adopted across Lyon : •Green waste was processed through co-composting, earthworm culture and mulching, on small local sites around the city, Saving : Green waste management 133 800 €
  7. 7. Three thermal weed killing techniques were tried and compared Herbicides were reduced by 70% in 2 years and by > 90% in 5 years Aquacide system – uses hot water Waipuna – Hot water and natural additives Butane Flame A loss of 32 000 € compared to chemicals
  8. 8. Grass cutting areas, height and frequency were reviewed and modified. Saving 45 700€
  9. 9. New low maintenance planting schemes
  10. 10. urban meadows replaced > 70% of traditional bedding Saving : 48 500€
  11. 11. Needy and underprivileged members of the community were offered training and employment. - 10% of contract values.
  12. 12. THE RESULTS WERE POSITIVE : •Increased local community employment, •Increased environmental benefits, ▪ minus 20,000km of HGV transport across the city, ▪ locally recycled green waste, ▪ 90% reduction in herbicide use. •13.85% reduction of the parks department budget. The programme could have gone further achieving 20% -25% budget cuts had it been required.
  13. 13. In order to measure the economic benefits of changing maintenance practices we need to : 1. Classify Green Infrastructure, 2. Establish a baseline, by quantifying what we do - have access to accurate land use plans (lineage of hedges, hectares of grass, areas of flower beds..) 3. Time & motion studies – to know how long it takes to do the tasks. The city of Rennes in France, classified it’s green infrastructure in the 1980’s : Each class will have its own specification document, summarised below. Class Type Simple Definition Example 1 Horticultural excellence Very neat and tidy, frequently weeded, fertiliser and chemical applications Bedding schemes, proximity to important buildings. Bowling Green 2 High horticultural vocation High maintenance, clipped shrubs and hedges, flower beds Well maintained parks, areas of high population frequency 3 Low horticultural vocation Regularly maintained, fewer flowers, no or very low chemical applications. Less human frequency, Suburban areas, main roads into town. 4 Traditional Infrequent maintenance Secondary roads 5 Semi natural Minimum maintenance Rural environments, Safety interventions 6 Natural & Hardscape No maintenance other than for exceptional reasons River side vegetation, natural woodland, Mineral surfaces
  14. 14. Costs can be calculated on a m² basis. Site : Chambovet 59,850m² Activities Time Surface Area Total Cost €/m² Grass cutting, edging, blower m² 94h 50.900m² 2,180.00 € 0.04 € Long grass mowing m² Strimmer on slopes m² Shrub pruning m² 54h 1,100m² 1,258.00 € 1,13 € Hedge cutting ml 45h 1,100m² 1,044.00 € 0,95 € Collect & disposal of leaves m² 108h 59,850m² 2,505.00 € 0,05 € Manual watering U 50h 1,100m² 1,160.00 € 1,05 € Irrigation maintenance U Hardscape maintenance m² 38h 850m² 8,584.00 € 1,14 € Paper picking, cleaning m² 437h 59,850m² 10,138.00 € 0,19 € Total cost 825h 59,850m² 19,140.00 € 0,36 € Cost without cleaning operations 388h 9,001.00 € 0,17 € Labour cost / h 23,20 €
  15. 15. Differentiated Management is appealing for its simplicity. Each class will have its own specification document defining quality and operational frequency. Intensive Maintenance Extensive Maintenance Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5 Class 6 Lawns 2000m² 4000m² 8000m² Woodland 9500m² Footpaths 1200m² Hard surfaces 800m² Flower beds 400m² Hedges 400ml 600m² Shrub beds 650m² Stream & Pond 1650m²
  16. 16. By combining ; 1.A classification of Park’s maintenance’, 2.Known surface areas, 3.Costs, It is easy to visualise, justify and modify park maintenance operations to required budget changes. Class 5 woodland Class 1 lawns Class 2 lawns Class 3 lawns Class 4 Meadow Class 1 Flower beds Class 6 Mineral Class 2 Flower beds 25,200m2 17,320m2 28,150m2 27,640m2 22,520m2 28,800m2 45,670m2 22,340m2
  17. 17. Parks – Influences, Choices & Decisions Political, Planning & Legislative, Utility & Design Community interest groups Scientific & Technical Ecology & Environment Financial & Managerial Sefton Park, Liverpool Do all the participants communicate ?
  18. 18. Is everyone on Your sustainable board ? maintenance programme How and when will you communicate with the public ? Is the internal process clear ? Are the objectives clearly defined ? Have investment costs been taken into account ? Internally run or external help ?
  19. 19. Number of public parks and recreational public space in the UK 27,000 Known surface area of 12,000 of those parks. 66,000 Ha. Estimated surface area of 27,000 parks and recreational public space > 143,000 Ha. Number of local authorities who do not know the number of parks they manage 1 in 6 Number of local authorities who do not know the surface area they manage 35.6% Source - The State of UK Public Parks 2014 – funded by the lottery fund Estimating the surface area of UK Green Infrastructure is a difficult task, depending upon what is included. Private parkland and gardens would increase the total surface area many times over. The uncertainty of surface areas is perhaps testament to the low value that has been attached to green infrastructure. When monitory value is attached accountants will surely know the surface areas with precision. !!
  20. 20. We have briefly looked at some maintenance practices and what can be achieved. What does the future hold ? 1. Landscape planning & design, a. How are parks managed today ? b. What do we really know ? c. Which way forward ? 2. Carbon auditing, a. Do parks and green spaces absorb more carbon than the emissions made to maintain them ? b. New research on grasses.
  21. 21. HOW MUCH TECHNICAL & SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION CAN PLANNERS & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS ACCESS ? IS LONG TERM MAINTENANCE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT AT THE DESIGN STAGE.
  22. 22. Landscape planning & design Parks and green spaces in a town or city generally reflect their socio-economic evolution, they are rarely planned as a whole. The management of these areas very often follows ad hoc the fragmentation that exists. We need to adopt a harmonious and holistic view of a city’s functioning.
  23. 23. Trees Meadows, Sports fields, Water features, Lawns, Flower beds, Woodland, Hedges, Seating, Games areas, Chemicals, Water run off, Irrigation, Biomass transfers, Soils, Hardscape permeability, What can be recycled locally and in what quantity ? Surface areas may need to be modified if we want an ecological equilibrium.
  24. 24. For example, look at just one street tree ? Roots How far do they extend, ? Will this impact on buildings uplift pavements 1 semi - mature street tree eg Platanus x acerifolia 10 m x 30 cm dbh Water How much water does it need ? where does the water come from ? Can rainfall runoff be better used ? Tree pits What is the soil quality like ? What is the available soil volume ? Is the hardscape covering the root system permeable or impermeable ? Leaf fall. What weight of leaves fall each year ? What weight will fall in 10, 20, 50 yrs time ? Clients & Costs. How does this impact on a management plan in 10, 20, 50 yrs time ? Tree surgery, summer pruning,storm damage, vandalism Can the Biomass be recycled at the foot of the tree, if not where ? nearby ? Carbon emissions & Carbon sequestration ? We transfer from one area to another thousands of tons of hedge cuttings, grass clippings, leaves, branches and felled tree trunks which contribute to high maintenance costs. "To successfully design with sustainability in mind we need a lot more technical and scientific facts to work from. " QUANTITIES & LONG TERM COSTS NEED TO BE KNOWN. Biodiversity Species richness; Tree fauna, soil fauna & flora. Environment Noise filtering, city cooling effects, dust filtering, Oxygen liberation. Blocked light. Aesthetic value to residents; Quality of life.
  25. 25. New landscape projects and existing green infrastructure needs to balance ecological coherence with amenity use : •Re-create living soils to reduce our dependence on chemicals, •Above ground biomass should ideally be produced in quantities that can be recycled “very” locally by the natural decomposers in the soil, •Amenity grasslands can help flood management •Avoid plants with “toxic” foliage (Laurel and conifer hedges..), •Avoid species whose leaves are difficult to compost, •Use the competitive capacity of the plants we want, to outcompete the plants we don’t want, •Mulching benefits … •Choose low maintenance grass varieties, •Use nitrogen fixing legumes to reduce fertiliser requirements, •Increase the permeability of hardscape surfaces, •Take into account the longevity of landscape materials and their potential for recycling, •Increase biodiversity, •Coordination with other professional sectors needs to be improved. “The design process of a landscape project and its long term maintenance should become a unified intellectual process.”
  26. 26. CARBON AUDITS - Is your green infrastructure Carbon negative ? CO2 Or carbon positive ? CO2 A Carbon Audit of Romsey War Memorial Park, Hampshire in 2010 was researched to test this hypothesis.
  27. 27. A typical British park … Surface areas m² Flower beds 152 Shrub beds 469 Hard surfaces 2016 Play area 658 Bowling Green 1500 Tennis courts 1000 Bowling Club 5795 Grass area 14153 Total 19948 Number of trees 69
  28. 28. Increasing kg. CO2 / yr. in Fagus sylvatica over 105 years, averaged over 5 yr. intervals.
  29. 29. SUMMARY OF CARBON SEQUESTRATION m² CO2 content kg annual sequestration CO2 kg / yr Shrub beds 469 m² 3 735 negligible (pruning) Soil (shrub beds) 469 m² 11 010 - Lawns 14 153 m² 20 135 - Soil (lawns) 14 153 m² 241 530 5 690 Soil (stocked CO2eq) 14 622 m² 402 471 Trees 69 95 401 2 593 Hedges 295 m 4 486 negligible (pruning) Total 778 768 8 283 ROMSEY PARK CO2 MAINTENANCE EMISSIONS Park machinery kg. CO2. yr % of total Mower 575.25 37.8% Strimmer 28.24 1.9% Hedge Cutter 22.60 1.5% Leaf Blower 65.90 4.3% Chain Saw 7.53 0.5% Rotovator 15.34 1.0% Oil changes 59.00 3.9% Total 773.86 50.9% Transport Pick-up Supervisor 82.41 5.4% Van & Trailor Grass cutting 98.79 6.5% General gardening 145.28 9.5% Mulch imports 3.29 0.2% Leaf sweeping 6.59 0.4% Snow clearing 3.29 0.2% Tree surgery 38.74 2.5% General Pruning 13.17 0.9% Hedge cutting 6.59 0.4% Road sweeping 39.52 2.6% Waste removal 309.94 20.4% Total 747.62 49.1% TOTAL 1521.48 RESULTS Carbon stocks 778 t. CO2 eq Annual sequestration 8.3 t. CO2 eq yr. Carbon emissions 1.5 t.CO2 eq / yr. Net annual increase 6.8 t.CO2 eq / yr.
  30. 30. As part of an environmental research programme, near Angers, root growth and carbon sequestration in grass species and varieties were compared. By courtesy of Top Green, ZA Les Pains 49320 Les Alleuds, France.
  31. 31. CO2 SUMMARY OF TURF GRASSES Varieties of Min. - Max. annual sequestration t.CO2 eq / yr. Average annual sequestration t.CO2 eq / yr. Lolium perenne 3.89 - 18.00 11.65 Festuca rubra rubra 4.94 - 20.81 11.78 Festuca arundinacea 9.26 - 17.32 13.67 Festuca rubra litoralis 4.47 - 9.28 6.66 Festuca rubra commutata 5.89 - 9.28 7.78 Festuca trachyphylla 7.11 7.11 Agrostis tenuis 9.99 9.99 Agrostis stolonifera 18.25 18.25 Poa pratensis 3.51 - 10.96 7.23 Eco-trifolium mix 11.73 11.73 Micro Luzerne mix 18.95 18.95 Conclusion •By selecting the better performing varieties in a typical amenity grass mix carbon sequestration may be doubled or tripled. By courtesy of Top Green, ZA Les Pains 49320 Les Alleuds, France.
  32. 32. If we project the 2ha. Romsey War Memorial park to 150 000 ha of U.K. parks in the same proportions on trees, shrubs and grasses we would find: 5.2M trees Carbon stored 7.2M t.CO2 eq Carbon sequestered per year 177,000 t.CO2 eq /yr. 35.6M shrubs Carbon stored 281,000. t.CO2 eq Negligible sequestration with annual pruning - 106,000ha. lawns Carbon stored 1.5M t.CO2 eq Carbon sequestered per year 606,000 t.CO2 eq /yr. Enhanced park management Carbon sequestered per year 1M - 1.5M.t.CO2 eq /yr. At a soil density of 1.55, a 1% increase in organic matter could add 50t.CO2/ha. in the soil. For 150 000ha of UK parks that’s 7.5M t.CO2
  33. 33. As part of a research programme to develop low maintenance grass mixes, grass species were compared in clipping trials between 2002 - 2011, measuring the height and weight of arisings of different grass varieties. By courtesy of Top Green, ZA Les Pains 49320 Les Alleuds, France.
  34. 34. Varieties of Min. - Max. weight of clippings t.ha/yr. Lolium perenne 3.04 - 7.39 Festuca rubra rubra 4.79 - 12.65 Festuca arundinacea 7.24 - 21.28 Festuca rubra litoralis 4.53 - 5.96 Festuca rubra commutata 5.13 Festuca trachyphylla 4.86 - 6.27 Agrostis tenuis 8.32 Agrostis stolonifera 8.02 Poa pratensis 3.30 Eco-trifolium mix 4.05 Conclusion •Within the commonly used varieties in grass mix formulations there is a twofold to threefold difference in growth rates as measured by removed clipping weights. By courtesy of Top Green, ZA Les Pains 49320 Les Alleuds, France.
  35. 35. Conclusions 1.Various sustainable landscape maintenance programmes have been successfully put into place in European cities. 2.Management needs to classify and quantify its Green Infrastructure; to establish a baseline, from which costs can be monitored, and future improvements measured. 3.Our scientific and technical information base is poor, planners and landscape designers need to access data that relates to the managerial decisions of the future. 4.Green infrastructure is a carbon sink even when the carbon footprint of maintenance is taken into account. 5.The carbon sink potential for Green Infrastructure can be increased. 6.Improving the environmental quality of our parks and open spaces is not a technical problem but a human one; but it will require a significant shakeup in the way people and organisations function.
  36. 36. “Sustainable Landscape Management does not mean abandoning maintenance. Rather it remains a challenge to achieve horticultural excellence and impact by using less intensive maintenance methods, integrating modern research, involving local communities, and using renewable local natural resources whenever possible.” ARE YOU READY ?
  37. 37. THANK YOU Howard Wood hwood@landscape-environment.com

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