Project: Designing a plan for the conservation and expansion of urban forests

María Toledo Garibaldi has a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences from UNAM and is PhD candidate at the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto in Canada. In 2017 she won the research prize from the International Center on Development Research for her project Urban forests in Mexico City: analysis and planning to mitigate the effects of climate change in Mexico City.


Designing and implementing a plan for the conservation, planning and expansion of urban forests of the CDMX.

Mexico City must guarantee the conservation of the current canopy, but a long-term, cost-effective plan to increase the canopy cover from 9% to 23% is also necessary. The best way to accomplish this is by planting the right species in the right place.  In this way, we allow the tree to grow to its greatest potential, giving us its maximum potential for environmental services at a minimum maintenance cost. At the same time, we will diversify the urban ecosystem and create a resilient and sustainable ecosystem. 

I imagine Mexico City not only as a vibrant and dynamic metropolis but as the first city in Latin America to use green infrastructure at a large scale. I imagine that the city is not a threat to the health and wellbeing of citizens. 

My project began two years ago with the collaboration of experts from the University of Toronto, and with the participation of students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.


I have studied forests for over ten years, and have worked in tropical dry forests, cloud forests and temperate forests in that time. However, living in Mexico City lead me to study the urban forest. While living there I witnessed how the poor environmental quality of the city affected the everyday life of city dwellers and is the cause of 9600 deaths per year. Now, I am convinced that the role of the urban forest is fundamental to enhancing the environment and, consequently, augmenting the quality of life of city’s residents.