A movement that aims to battle climate change and restore Europe’s biodiversity is giving way for the emergence of mini forests in urban areas all over the continent. According to a report published recently at The Guardian, these pockets of flora are being developed mostly in schoolyards or alongside roads and can store 40 times more carbon than single-species plantations.
The forests are grown using the Miyawaki Method, which is a technique developed by Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert, Akira Miyawaki back in the 1970s. Miyawaki is renowned worldwide for discovering innovative methods to restore natural vegetation of native lands. His method calls for the use of various native plant species of different sizes—including shrubs, sub-tree types, tree types, and canopy types—that are planted closely next to each other to create a natural forest effect consisting of multiple layers. These clusters of plants can help restore the health of the soil in an area and protect the quality of resources like water and air. In addition, it is said to have significantly measurable effects on both the local and regional environment.
Miyawaki has created over 1,000 pocket forests all over Japan, Malaysia and other parts of Asia.
One of the best things about Miyawaki forests is their ability to grow and positively impact the environment much quicker. Scientists and advocates say that each forest has the ability to grow about 10 times faster compared to more conventional methods. It also becomes 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse. In addition, Miyawaki forests can regenerate the soil in significantly far less time compared to regular forests.
France’s first mini forest was planted back in 2018 in a piece of land beside a busy road in Paris. Last March, Urban Forests, an organization created by biologist and naturalist Nicolas de Brabandere, concluded the planting of the first Miyawaki forest in Toulouse. The said pocket forest was created on a 400 square meters piece of land and consisted of 1,200 trees divided among 22 species. This was the fifth forest that the nonprofit group finished this year. They have so far created 7,000 square meters of forests with over 21,000 trees in both France and Belgium.
Holland also has a similar project called Tiny Forests Initiative, which started back in 2015. They have so far created more than 100 pocket forests all over the Dutch country.
The goal behind the creation of these forests is to help fight climate change or at the very least minimize its effects not just on humans but animals as well. If done more aggressively, they have the potential to significantly help preserve the planet for future generations.