Mini-forests, big impact

Two years ago, the first mini-forests took root in Hamilton.

Purposefully designed, mini-forests consist of densely planted native tree species that mimic the complexity of a naturally evolved forest. The reason? To restore biodiversity.

Two recent grants from HCF support the mini-forests project from Green Venture. One supports planting new trees and stewarding existing mini-forests. Another helps fund research to measure growth, soil structure and ecological outcomes.

At the heart of this project is the “Miyawaki method” — named after Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki — which involves planting native tree species at very high densities. The result, which has been successfully applied all over the world, is a diverse forest that develops over a relatively short period.

By next spring, Green Venture hopes to plant 600 trees at Johnson Tews Park and 100 more across the grounds of Dundas Central Public School. The project also involves education workshops and engagement with students at the school.

Researching the efficacy of the Miyawaki method in Hamilton is also key to Green Venture’s success, since there are no established best practices for mini-forests in Canada yet. Green Venture plans to evaluate its existing mini- forests and other examples in Canada, as well as to conduct research to determine how the community perceives the value of the project.

“Restoring biodiversity is crucial for Hamilton,” says Rudi Wallace, Vice-President of Grants & Community Initiatives. “A greater tree canopy in our community is important and we’re glad to support this environmentally focused project that also engages residents.”

From Fall 2023 Legacy Newsletter