Planting a small forest in your backyard sounds like a great garden idea, right? If it does not for now, it will by the time you finish reading our inspiring article on a progressive and sustainable approach to tree planting. Nullker has interviewed one of the modern heroes and green pioneers about the concept of the Miyawaki forest and its capacity to solve the global problems of reforestation, environmental protection, and ecosystem restoration.
It is thanks to Jean-Baptiste CHAUDRON (aka JB or “The Planting Guy”) that we have found out about the Miyawaki forests. This knowledge is so insightful and game-changing that we are devoting a separate blog entry to it! So join us and JB as we will be telling you a story of little forests and big ideas.
As probably everything that changes the world, the concept of mini-forests has its ideological origin, its ambassadors, and people who follow.
The whole idea dates back and rolls away to the name of Dr. Akira Miyawaki - the Japanese botanist who developed this method. He was inspired by Nature and how it creates forests in its pristine, “natural” ways. Hence, the goal of a Miyawaki mini-forest is to mimic Nature with its dense, diverse, and multi-layered forests. Miyawaki forests grow 10x faster, are 30x denser, and contain 100x more biodiversity. Planting trees and shrubs using this method starts the chain reaction of a fast and self-perpetuating ecosystem regeneration, and biodiversity follows.
Despite the ‘local’ origin, the idea kept growing and spreading around the world. This is where we ought to talk about one of the people who helped it spread… and it was not Dr. Miyawaki.
Volunteering to become the ambassador of the Miyawaki forest idea - along with being the ambassador of change more generally when it comes to his mission to change the world by changing people’s worldview - Jean-Baptiste CHAUDRON decided to not only practice this method in his backyard (that does look like a forest now) but also educate others how to do the same.
The parameter of “nativeness” is key to the Miyawaki method, which means Miyawaki forests look different in different locations, countries, and climates. This flexibility and adaptability allowed JB to travel around the globe and ‘propagate’ (pun unintended) this method in the minds and gardens of other people.
JB explains, “We only plant native species that are adapted to the soil and climate of a specific region. We do not plant exotic species that could destroy the balance of the local ecosystems. At the beginning of the project, there is real work to identify native species that have not been imported by man. So, in the end, the Miyawaki mini-forests look very different across the world. They are all very dense but they do not have the same appearance or height if you are in a tropical humid, temperate or arid zone, for example.”
Thus, one concept in theory - many different forests in practice.
The name mini-forest suggests an idea that every person can create their own tiny forest. A question arises: If every human created their own mini-forest, wouldn’t it solve the deforestation problem altogether? We asked JB, and here is what his answer was:
“The problem of deforestation is more related to other root causes such as the use of land for other purposes, like intensive agriculture for palm oil or soy. I usually say that when it comes to forests, we must act by order of priority: 1) Protect, 2) Manage, 3) Restore. First, we need to protect these primary forests! Then comes the balance between what we cut and what we plant, as wood could be a renewable resource. In the effort of restoring forests, the Miyawaki mini-forests are a great way to start taking action. With basic guidance, anyone can plant a mini-forest, starting from 100 m². And it is a direct action to improve our local environment!”
This being said, JB and Nullker almost expect our readers to become interested and engaged to the point when, in a year from now, we would issue another article showcasing the pictures of all your little forest-planting achievements that, combined, would signify big positive changes in the collective reforestation effort. What a great plan for the future, isn’t it?
There is a saying that it is a great virtue to plant a tree in the shadow of which you will not be sitting.
Unfortunately, this factor of long-term benefits discourages people from caring about reforestation techniques here and now. Another issue is the scale of the mission. The call to ‘save the planet for future generations’ may sound too generic and too big for one person. That’s why many people ignore it. But once you see who this ‘future generation’ is, the mission of environmental preservation suddenly becomes clearer and more personal. At least JB had this particular personal experience when his first child was born into this world - the world tortured by deforestation and climate change. Here is how he describes this important milestone in his life:
“I was already aware of all the climate and biodiversity changes. Scientists had been warning us for decades, and the media started to improve their coverage of the issue. But we felt a shock when we had our first baby on an unusually hot summer. We could see the effects of the heatwave on our newborn. It was a painful experience. That’s when I decided that we had to do something. So I studied all the possible climate actions and discovered the Miyawaki mini-forests. It was possible to start small and then to scale up for massive, local and direct impacts. A powerful tool to create microclimates.”
If you check JB’s website (https://restoreforest.com/about-jb/), you will see that he has succeeded. It is already clear from a picture where he is standing with his back towards the camera, one arm hugging the older generation, another one holding the future generation, and all gazes directed towards the growing Miyawaki forest in the background.
Wrapping up our enlightening interaction, we asked JB what was the biggest revelation or inspiration he got from creating Miyawaki forests.
“As an engineer, I am impressed by the power of Nature. Nature has billions of years of experience in R&D and trials and errors. It has developed complex, balanced and efficient ecosystems. So we just have to give Nature a little help at the beginning to set up the right conditions. After that, we must let Nature do its magic to restore a healthy land for us,” said JB.
Not much we could add to it. We can only say that Nullker adheres to the same respectful, balanced, and circular vision of Nature. We learn from it. We are doing our best to use Nature’s patterns and laws to revolutionize the modern economy by making it greener, and inspire people to value the natural assets. Back to basics is the key, because it is NATURAL!
Plant your own mini-forest or support this tree-planting initiative on the Nullker Fundraising Platform https://nullker.com/projects/restore-forest/. There is no such thing as too many trees planted!