Miyawaki Method of Urban Afforestation

What is Miyawaki method?

The Miyawaki method, developed by a Japanese botanist after whom it is named, involves planting saplings in small areas, causing them to “fight” for resources and grow nearly 10 times quicker.

Miyawaki method is a method of urban afforestation by turning backyards into mini-forests.

The technique was pioneered by Japanese botanist, Akira Miyawaki, and is believed to ensure 10 times faster plant growth, which results in plantation, that is 30 times denser than usual.

According to experts, this process involves planting dozens of native species in the same area, which becomes maintenance-free after the first three years.

It originated in Japan, and is now increasingly adopted in other parts of the world, including our Chennai. It has revolutionised the concept of urban afforestation by turning backyards into mini-forests.

It includes planting trees as close as possible in the same area which not only saves space, but the planted saplings also support each other in growth and block sunlight reaching the ground, thereby preventing the growth of weed.

Thus the saplings become maintenance-free (self sustainable) after the first three years.

A Miyawaki forest is an opportunity to take part in ecosystem restoration

(1). Indeed, the method takes into account ecological successions

(2), and allows to immediately plant an advanced forest through the choice of the most adapted plant communities

(3). It is called the Potential Natural Vegetation

4). Cooperation between trees

(5) enhances quick development and great resilience.

The rapid afforestation technique has been put to use in Kerala,Punjab,delhi,etc.

The Guru Nanak Sacred Forests, Nanak Bagichi’s,the number of which is now close to 100 in Punjab, are helping in rapid afforestation across the state.

How to grow a forest?

The procedure for developing the sacred forests is simple.

  • A pit has to be dug, and its dimensions depend on the available space. Before digging the pit, the list of tree species should be chosen judiciously. As there is very little space to work around with, trees with varying heights should be chosen. For example, if a tree that can grow up to 30 feet is planted, the next one should be considerably shorter. This ensures the branches don’t clash.
  • Fill it with one layer of compost, followed by a layer of natural waste such as bagasse and coconut shells and then top it with a layer of red soil.
  • Plant the saplings following interval and tree height specifications.
  • The whole process can be completed in two to three weeks. The saplings have to be maintained regularly for a year.


Advantages of Miyawaki Method:

1.Rapid means of urban afforestation.

2.Reduces pollution in cities.

3.Health benefits due to reduced pollution levels.

4.A direct answer to Urban Heat Island effect.

5.Promoting natural vegetation on land destroyed by natural calamities and man-induced mistake.

6.these forests serve as a natural bulwark against soil erosion and Tsunami when used along coastlines.

7.The trees grow faster too and are free of chemicals and fertilisers.

8.The saplings need minimum maintenance.

Disadvantages of Miyawaki Method:

Some environmentalists state that Miyawaki forests cannot substitute natural forests.

These kinds of woods cannot bring in rain. They also do not have the medicinal properties that natural forests have.
They also argue that this method is only successful in smaller spaces or places close to cities. It is not feasible for a tropical country, such as India. Miyawaki forests are extremely dense. It does not allow any movement for possible wildlife. Although these forests do bring back greenery to the congested cities, it is not an alternative to natural forests.

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