Saturday, June 15, 2024

Miyawaki Forest, Botanical Garden, and Urban Forest 

Authors Dr. Erum Rashid, Shahla Rashid, Dr. Mujahid Ali

(Horticulture UOS, WMRF Renala Khurd)

Miyawaki forest:

  • The Miyawaki method is an afforestation technique for cultivating fast-growing groves of native plants, with the dense, mixed planting intended to simulate the layers of a natural forest.  
  • Originally developed by Japanese ecologist Akira Miyawaki in the early 1970s for Nippon Steel, the method has been adopted by various Japanese corporations, which planted Miyawaki forests both domestically and overseas.
  • Although the popularity of Miyawaki forests has skyrocketed in India, some ecological restoration practitioners question the method’s applicability to the country’s diverse ecological environments.
  • This technique for afforestation was created by the Japanese botanist and plant biology master Teacher Akira Miyawaki, and draws motivation from nature’s biological systems to make 100 percent natural, thick, and different trailblazer backwoods in just 20-30 years.
  • Miyawaki backwoods become 10x quicker, are 30 x denser, and contain 100x greater biodiversity. Since they’re speedy to lay out, upkeep-free after the initial few years, and can be made on locales as little as 3 sq m, Miyawaki timberlands are suitable answers for urban communities looking to construct environment flexibility quickly.
  • The Miyawaki technique isn’t simply one of a kind since it reestablishes local living spaces utilizing local trees; the afforestation standards depend on comprehension of how these species would connect in a characteristic timberland. You plant a different combination of trees near one another to expand thickness and make balance. Nature doesn’t flourish in frameworks of 1.5m; seeds drop from trees haphazardly to animate development, or fallen trees open up clearings to the sun. As the firmly established saplings need to go after light, which just beams on them from a higher place, they shoot upwards exceptionally quickly rather than sideways.
  • Here and there toning it down would be ideal, yet in this occasion, establishing an immense assortment of local trees near one another means an expansion in biodiversity. The thickness of development gives a more prominent measure of search for pollinators and shelter for birds. More shelter cover conceals out weeds and makes a cool home for bugs, in addition the expanded leaf litter fabricates richness and life in the dirt. Likewise, in the event that you have an assortment of tree animal varieties, you have others to step in assuming one capitulates to illness.

Steps of preparation of land:

1) Identifying  potential  natural vegetation

  • When planting a Miyawaki forest, the first step is to identify the native vegetation best suited to the area being planted, termed Potential Natural Vegetation. To establish this, our forest makers do intensive research, often involving the indigenous community.
  • Forests are multi-layered, and as the Miyawaki method mirrors nature, we identify and plant four layers of vegetation, building a resilient green wall of canopy trees, trees, subtrees, and shrubs. We select up to 40 different species to create balance and maximize density.

2) Preparing the soil:

  • The second step when planting a Miyawaki forest is soil preparation. Since SUGi focuses on rewilding nature-deprived areas, the soil is often degraded, compacted, waterlogged, or bacteria-dominant. However, trees need fungi-dominant, soft, and crumbly soil, so their roots can establish faster and have better access to nutrients.
  • Our forest makers work the soil once to restore the missing biology and put it on the path to becoming oxygenated, fertile, and self-sustaining. Compost tea is also added to the earth as it’s turned; this contains strains of beneficial fungi (known to interact with the specific tree species) and a stimulant, such as molasses or liquid seaweed, to give the fungi fuel to grow.
  • Planting the saplings
    • Forests are planted with the help of the community. We plant three to four saplings per square meter in a random manner that mirrors how natural forests grow. We choose to plant young saplings, as they’re more adaptable and can form symbiotic relationships with mycorrhiza fungi in the soil far quicker than an older tree.
    • The denseness of a Miyawaki forest isn’t just great for creating biodiversity; it also increases carbon capture, and pollution filtration and produces an area more resilient to flooding and landslides. Increased canopy cover reduces the amount of rainfall that hits the ground, increases shade, and promotes cooling. Not to mention the green-wall effect of the multi-layered trees, which acts as a shield if there’s ever a storm surge.
  • Mulching the forest
    • Once you’ve planted the saplings, the final step is to apply compost tea and mulch heavily using straw. The mulch protects the soil and retains moisture. Species such as earthworms, beetles, and other insects feed from the top down, building soil fertility by pulling the mulch into the ground for it to be broken down by microbes.
    • As mulching helps the soil retain moisture, you do not have to do as much watering. The more fertile the soil, the more water it holds. Miyawaki forests only need to be maintained for the first three years. After that, you can stop weeding and mulching and let the forest get on with it.

Importance:

  • Miyawaki forests help in controlling air, water, noise, and soil pollution.  
    • The Miyawaki method prevents the flowing away of the top layer of soil in heavy rain as the trees are planted close to each other and a group of trees tightly holds the soil.
    • Miyawaki forests purify the air, manage water, regulate the climate, and create oxygen.
    • Build soil and biodiversity, and provide food, medicine, shelter and joy to all those connected to it.

Botanical garden:

  • A botanical garden or botanic garden is a garden with a documented collection of living plants for the purpose of scientific research, conservation, display, and education.
    • Typically plants are labelled with their botanical names.It may contain specialist plant collections such as cacti and other succulent plants, herb gardens, plants from particular parts of the world, and so on; there may be greenhouses, shade houses, again with special collections such as tropical plants, alpine plants, or other exotic plants. Most are at least partly open to the public and may offer guided tours, educational displays, art exhibitions, book rooms, open-air theatrical and musical performances, and other entertainment. A botanical garden is generally considered as an institution of research in botanicals, mainly on the flora which is native to the region.It should consist of a library, studies of photography and also recreation. However, all the fundamental aspects of botany will come under the botanical garden and this has become the center of cultural activities of any region in which it is located. 
    • One must know botanical gardening techniques if they are trying to set it up

 Preparation of your botanical garden site: You will need to search for a site that has water availability and good soil. It is mandatory to get permission from the landlord and other authorities which are related. The agreement of lease should be finalized for at least 2 years in order to work as hard as possible.

Designing your botanical garden:

You will then start the design preparation for the garden which will suit not only the lot but also the needs of the gardeners. You should plan the plots’ size and layout. The organization of laborers should be done to clear the lot and set up the garden. Ensure that the plots are marked in a clear way and are also divided for the sake of gardeners to take charge of that particular plot and manage it individually

Maintenance of your botanical garden:

To maintain a botanical garden, you will first need to prepare the rules about sharing and getting tools for the garden. You should arrange a discussion on how all these rules and people who come up should be enforced and upheld. Even a little maintenance that has to be done to the botanical garden has to be discussed as the weeds may cause an issue in the areas of the botanical garden. It would be good if you had a bulletin board which is a rainproof one for the announcements which cause problem to the garden and its members.

Tips to maintain your botanical garden:

  • The first tip is to water your botanical garden in a smart way. This will give your garden efficiency along with some sort of irrigation.
  • Watering should be done on a regular basis at high temperatures.
  • You should take proper care of your botanical garden by saving them from any sort of disease. There are chances of many turf diseases like fungi which usually develop in climates that are warm and humid.
  • Watering should be done early in the morning so that it would reduce the humid conditions.
  • Try to avoid fertilizers in the midst of summer and wait till the arrival of autumn. You can release the fertilizer gradually two times a year during spring and autumn in order to get tremendous results.
  • It would be better if you have a gardener for your community to take care of all the things required for your botanical garden. If you are hiring anyone, make sure to tell him to clear all the mower blades by making use of a sterilizing agent before he is watering the plants. This is because most of the pests will be carried to the plant through tools and types of equipment that are used for gardening.

Importance / Benefits of Botanical Garden:

  • Botanical gardens devote their resources to the study and conservation of plants,  As well as making the world’s plant species diversity known to the public.  
  • These gardens also play a central role in meeting human needs and providing well-being.

Improve your mental health:

  • There are various studies that prove that being in outdoor locations is good for mental health, attention as well as memory. A study which was made by researchers has found that a 1 ½ hour walk in a setting that is natural will reduce stress and will clear any problems related to the brain like mental illness and depression.

Environmental protection:

  • Botanical gardens are great for the environment in several ways. They play a vital role in the conservation of plant species that are endangered as well as by the seed banks and they are also advantageous to pollinators such as butterflies, bats, bees, and birds which play an essential role in crop production and the maintenance of the health of the plant life. Moreover, green spaces will help in the filtration of pollutants present in the air, and low temperatures in the cities, and also help in the protection of waterways from runoff which is a contamination one. By offering support to the botanical gardens, you are indirectly supporting your Mother Nature Add some culture:
  • Botanical gardens will often organize cultural events such as exhibitions of art or music. That means that these represent the culture of the region and preserve the culture too.

Helps you be active:

  • Make sure that you are not letting that aesthetic environment of the botanical garden fool you. Botanical gardens are the places where you can jog through the trails and plants and increase your heart rate. You can also make use of exercise classes like tai chi, yoga, Pilates. In a few cities, you will also find “boot camp” fitness-style classes in the settings of the botanical garden. In order to involve your entire family, you can go through the events calendar of the botanical gardens to check if there are any friendly events for your kids.

Functions of Botanical Garden:

  • Botanical gardens will serve just like outdoor laboratories.
  • They will start the studies on the ecosystems which are temperate and tropical to know about their biota, prior they are gone to science and get preserved.
  • They will act as centers of germplasm banks of similar species of plants which are economically important.
  • They will take care of the establishment of youth museums and nature centers to concentrate on destroying ecosystems and the degradation of the environment.
  • Maintenance of the ornamental plants which are not very attractive and are also abandoned.
  • The botanical gardens will offer training to the people in the urban areas about the tree plantation.
  • They will be involved in the collaboration of the university and a few others for conducting research on the biology of the environment.
  • Botanical gardens take up the responsibility of organizing educational programs for the creation of awareness among children about the environment and training teachers about the same.
  • These are the centers where rare and endangered species are conserved.
  • These provide living plant materials for the purpose of research.
  • These play a major role as centers of pollution indicators by raising the plants which are susceptible to pollution.
  • Almost all of the economic plants are actually introduced across the world through botanical gardens.
  • They also play a vital role in inspiring poets and literature by giving them aesthetic pleasure.

Urban forest:

  • An urban forest is a forest, or a collection of trees, that grows within a city, town, or suburb. In a wider sense, it may include any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlement 
  • As opposed to a forest park, whose ecosystems are also inherited from wilderness leftovers, urban forests often lack amenities like public bathrooms, paved paths, or sometimes clear borders which are distinct features of parks.   
  • Whose ecosystems are also inherited from wilderness leftovers, urban forests often lack amenities like public bathrooms, paved paths, or sometimes clear borders which are distinct features of parks. The care and management of urban forests is called urban forestry. Urban forests can be privately and publicly owned. Some municipal forests may be located outside of the town or city to which they belong.
  • The care and management of urban forests is called urban forestry.
  • Urban forests can be privately and publicly owned. 
  • Some municipal forests may be located outside of the town or city to which they belong.
  • Urban forests play an important role in ecology of human habitats in many ways  Aside from the beautification of the urban environment, they offer many benefits like impacting climate and the economy while providing shelter to wildlife and recreational areas for city dwellers.

Importance:

  • Urban forests provide key ecosystem services, like filtering air and water that are essential to healthy human communities in cities where air pollution and water management can pose public health risks
  • Urban forests play an important role in ecology of human habitats in many ways
  • Aside from the beautification of the urban environment, they offer many benefits like impacting climate and the economy while providing shelter to wildlife and recreational area for city dwellers.

Impact of Urban Forest:

Urban forests play an important role in benefitting the environmental conditions of their respective cities. They moderate local climate, slow wind, and stormwater, and filter air and sunlight. They are critical in cooling the urban heat island effect, thus potentially reducing the number of unhealthful ozone days that plague major cities in peak summer months.

Air pollution reduction:

  • As cities struggle to comply with air quality standards, trees can help to clean the air.
  • The most serious pollutants in the urban atmosphere are ozone, nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfuric oxides (SOx), and particulate pollution. Ground-level ozone, or smog, is created by chemical reactions between NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. 
  • High temperatures increase the rate of this reaction.
  • Most particulate pollution begins as smoke or diesel soot and can cause serious health risks to people with heart and lung diseases and irritation to healthy citizens. 
  • Trees are an important, cost-effective solution to reducing pollution and improving air quality.

Trees reduce temperatures and smog:

  • With an extensive and healthy urban forest air quality can be drastically improved.
  • Trees help to lower air temperatures and the urban heat island effect in urban areas.  
  • This reduction of temperature not only lowers energy use, it also improves air quality, as the formation of ozone is dependent on temperature. Trees reduce temperature not only by directly shading: when there is a large number of trees it creates a difference in temperatures between the area where they are located and the neighboring area.  
  • This creates a difference in atmospheric pressure between the two areas, which creates wind. This phenomenon is called the urban breeze
  • As temperatures climb, the formation of ozone increases.
  • Healthy urban forests decrease temperatures and reduce the formation of ozone.
  • Large shade trees can reduce local ambient temperatures by 3 to 5 °C
  • Maximum mid-day temperature reductions due to trees range from 0.04 °C to 0.2 °C per 1% canopy cover increase.
  • Lower temperatures reduce emissions in parking lots
  • Cars parked in parking lots with 50% canopy cover emit 8% less evaporative emissions than cars parked in parking lots with only 8% canopy cover.
  • Due to the positive effects trees have on reducing temperatures and evaporative emissions in parking lots, cities like Davis, California, have established parking lot ordinances that mandate 50% canopy cover over paved areas.  “Cold Start” emissions

Carbon sequestration

Urban forest managers are sometimes interested in the amount of carbon removed from the air and stored in their forest as wood in relation to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere while running tree maintenance equipment powered by fossil fuels.

Economic impact:

  • The economic benefits of trees and various other plants have been understood for a long time. Recently, more of these benefits have become quantified. 
  • Quantification of the economic benefits of trees helps justify public and private expenditures to maintain them. 
  • One of the most obvious examples of economic utility is the example of the deciduous tree planted on the south and west of a building (in the Northern Hemisphere), or north and east (in the Southern Hemisphere).

Energy and CO2 consumption:

  • Urban forests contribute to the reduction of energy usage and CO2 emissions primarily through the indirect effects of an efficient forestry implementation Water filtration:
  • The stormwater retention provided by urban forests can provide monetary savings even in arid regions where water is expensive or watering conservation is enforced.

Tourism and local business expansion:

  • The USDA Guide notes on page 17 that “Businesses flourish, people linger and shop longer, apartments and office space rent quicker, tenants stay longer, property values increase, new business and industry is attracted” by trees. Increases in property values:
  • Urban forests have been linked to an increase in property value surrounding residents.
  • An empirical study from Finland showed a 4.9% increase in property valuation when located just one kilometer closer to a forest.
  • Another source claims this increase can range as high as 20%.

Sociological impact:

Community health impact:

  • Urban forests offer many benefits to their surrounding communities. Removing pollutants and greenhouse gases from the air is one key reason why cities are adopting the practice. Removing pollutants from the air, in urban forests can lower risks of asthma and lung cancer. 
  • Communities that rely on well water may also see a positive change in water purity due to filtration.

Mental health impact:

  • Living near urban forests has shown positive impacts on mental health. 
  • As an experimental mental health intervention in the city of Philadelphia, trash was removed from vacant lots, some of them being selectively “greened” by planting trees, and grass, and installing small fences.
Dr. Mujahid Ali
Dr. Mujahid Ali
I am working as Assistant Horticulturist (BS-18) at Water Management Research Farm Renala Khurd, before this served as Assistant Professor (IPFP) in Horticulture at the University of Sargodha. I have completed my Ph.D. in 2018 from the Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF previously worked as Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture UOS, worked as Research Fellow in ACIAR project on vegetables, and worked as Teaching Assistant in Horticulture UAF. Moreover, Ph.D. IRSIP did in the NC State University, United States.

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