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RUDN Tree Talkers Will Monitor the State of Trees in Moscow

RUDN Tree Talkers Will Monitor the State of Trees in Moscow

In 2020, the Moscow City Government will begin to monitor urban trees using devices created by RUDN scientists. This was announced by the head of Moscow Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection Anton Kulbachevsky during the 20th anniversary meeting of the Panel of the Department. The event was held on March 2, 2020. Elvira Dovletyarova, head of the Department of Landscape Design and Sustainable Ecosystems of the Agrarian and Technological Institute of RUDN University took the floor as a visiting expert.

Leading experts in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development summed up the results of work in the field of improvement of the environmental situation in Moscow in 2019 and outlined targets for the current year. Particular attention was paid to the development of environmentally friendly urban transport, the formation of a separate waste collection system and the processing of municipal waste in the city. Experts also noted that urban air has become much cleaner - toxic emissions from vehicles have decreased by 22% since 2010, urban soil has become less polluted - since 2005 the content of oil products in the soil has decreased by 2.3 times, and the volume of wastewater discharged into Moscow-river over the past year decreased by 20%.

However, the key discussion of the meeting was devoted to the issue of urban green spaces. The head of Moscow Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection Anton Kulbachevsky called the capital the leader among the world megacities by the number of green spaces. According to him, over the past 10 years, more than 6 million trees and shrubs have been planted in Moscow, and by the end of 2020, the city’s green fund will be replenished with another 24 thousand young seedlings. Elvira Dovletyarova also expressed her view on the key role of the tree in the life of the city and the city dweller. She noted that over the past few years, society has dramatically changed the attitude to green spaces - people have come to understand that trees, shrubs and other plants really positively affect the quality of life and health, and therefore require protection and respect from each citizen.

Anton Kulbachevsky also announced the creation of a new Moscow green fund management system in 2020. It will be launched with the help of urban scientists from RUDN University. As part of the new approach, special devices – Tree Talkers - will monitor the state of large green spaces. Tree Talkers are sensors developed in the RUDN Laboratory Smart Technologies for Sustainable Urban Development under Global Changes managed by Riccardo Valentini.

“We want to improve the quality of green spaces in the city, extend their life. Therefore, we plan to introduce personalized plant care. The experiment began on the territory of RUDN University and some central city streets,”- claimed Anton Kulbachevsky. Source

The decision to use Tree Talkers in order to launch a new monitoring system was facilitated by the successful results of an experiment conducted by RUDN scientists in collaboration with Moscow Department of Nature Management in 2018-2019. As part of this study, at 7 experimental sites within the capital 217 devices that monitored the state of plantings under different weather conditions were installed on various trees.

Tree Talkers sensors scan the vital processes of the tree: the intensity of sap flow and photosynthesis. Also, the device determines the lean and elasticity of the tree in real time, so that during a strong wind or hurricane the old branches and trunk do not damage buildings, cars, or fall on people. In general, such monitoring allows scientists to determine how dangerous or useful one or another plant is and to develop recommendations in order to care for it.

Currently, more than 200 devices monitor the status of plantings in the campus of RUDN University, in the "Pharmaceutical garden" of Moscow State University Botanic Garden, in the forest zone of the Russian State Agrarian University – Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy and in other places. Monitoring of Moscow trees is part of a large study of urban green areas. In the future it is planned to create a single network to monitor green spaces around the world.

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