The Miyawaki method is igniting imaginations around the world, reflecting an evolution in thinking about both forests and trees.
The long held view has been that you need to plant trees several feet or metres apart, to give them room to grow and not hog each others nutrients. But the Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki has proven that theory to be wrong.
Miyawaki has repeatedly demonstrated that if you pack a total of 10 native trees and shrubs into every last square metre of soil, mimicking the composition of mature woodland, that the plants compete so hard for nourishment, water and sunlight that they grow a lot faster than any single tree planted on its own. Rather than needing 200 years to mature, a Miyawaki forest takes just 20.
It's hardly surprising, therefore, that the Miyawaki method is igniting imaginations around the world. Particularly as forests are no longer seen primarily as future lumber. Instead, they’re also considered a healing balm for many of the wrongs humans have inflicted on the planet. They can suck up carbon, stabilize watersheds, recharge groundwater, halt flooding and filter pollutants out of the air, not to mention bathe the human soul in tranquility.
Miyawaki forests can be a small or as large as the space available. It's why they are part of an expanding worldwide experiment in urban and suburban forest regeneration.
Today's OGN Sunday Magazine articles