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Why everyone is adopting Miyawaki Method – What is this technique?

What is Miyawaki Method

Miyawaki’s method comes from a famous Japanese botanist and plant expert – Professor Akira Miyawaki. He is globally regarded as a specialist in the restoration of the natural vegetation on degraded land.

This method of afforestation involves planting a number of different species of native trees close to each other through a logical sequence. The method not only saves space but plants & trees being in close proximity support each other. When they become lush and green, they also prevent sunlight to reach the ground, which means lesser evaporation of groundwater.

Close planting of many random trees in a small area creates dense forest that enriches the green cover and reinforces the fertility of the soil.

This method ensures that forests grow 10x faster, are 30x denser, 100x biodiverse, and 100% organic. While the conventional method can take more than 100 years for the forest cover, the Miyawaki method can accentuate the growth in 20-30 years.

Miyawaki Method (an illustration)

First adoption

The model was first implemented in the early 1970s by the Japanese company, Nippon Steel Corporation, which wanted to plant forests on embankments around its steel factory.

Professor Miyawaki identified the potential areas, studying the surrounding nearby forests. He chose various local species of trees and then created a nursery where plants were mixed and then planted on the site. The steel company was so impressed with the results that in the next few years it created forests with this method at various other sites of its steel mills.

The success story reached various parts of Japan which led to its wide-scale adoption at not only various factories but also to other wastelands and degraded land sites.

For his contribution, Dr. Akira Miyawaki has received many accolades and prizes, including the Blue Planet Prize in 2009 – considered to be a prestigious award that recognizes noticeable efforts in applications of science that contribute to solving global environmental problems.

Growing adoption of Miyawaki Technique

Though this plantation technique was first tested in Japan but now this model is adopted around the world for creating dense environment protection forests. Miyawaki’s method of planting trees has been replicated in over 3000 areas, including over 1,400 sites in Japan.

Due to its relevance and applicability, this method has reached countries like Thailand, Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Borneo, Brazil, India, and many other counties around the globe.

In 2000, the Miyawaki method was tested for the first time in a Mediterranean ecosystem in Italy, in an area where traditional reforestation methods had failed. Results obtained after a few years of planting trees were outstanding: the plant biodiversity increased rapidly in the region. A research paper published in 2010, has explained in detail the effectiveness of this technique in the Mediterranean region.

India Connection

In 2013, the Miyawaki method of forest plantation was applied in the Shillong region in northeast India by a cement manufacturing company.

A Bengaluru-based group SayTrees switched to this method from the last few years to plant thousands of trees in and around Bengaluru. We spoke to the founder of SayTrees, Kapil Sharma, about him and his organization employing the Miyawaki technique to create forests.

I took a decision to try it in 2016 and by 2017 I saw the results. Results were so amazing that since 2017 we have created more than 20 Miywaki Forests. The latest forests which we have created are of 38,000 saplings in one location. It is something very good for cities, which are converting into concrete jungles.

Soil preparation is the most important in the Miyawaki technique. The next is the placement of saplings. It is not rocket science.

Green Yatra NGO, which plans to plant 100 million trees by 2025, has already organized numerous tree plantation drives in Mumbai using this technique. Pradeep Tripathi, founder of Green Yatra has advocated the advantages of this technique at various forums.

In Feb 2020, Telangana minister for municipal administration & urban development KT Rama Rao (KTR) directed his team to leverage the Miyawaki technique to plant trees in the Hyderabad region.

Conclusion

Trees help in supplying the oxygen in the atmosphere, absorbing pollutants from the air we breathe, preventing soil erosion, and providing fruits & vegetables, as well as a natural home to biodiversity.

In addition, forests provide jobs and livelihoods to thousands of people. Furniture, spices, rubber, paper, medicine, and tourism, among hundreds of other sectors, leverage resources from the wood of the forests for commercial purposes.

Given the current pandemic situation which the world is reeling under, we need to ensure that we take better care of the environment in the future. While planting trees might not cure people of any virus, it can surely help in the healing of the planet.  Hopefully, more regions, cities, and countries come forward to use this method for a greener and healthier world.

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