India: Mini forests bloom as Delhi tries Miyawaki technique to support wildlife, lower temperatures

Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki pioneered the concept of natural vegetation restoration of degraded land



Reuters file
Reuters file
by

A Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 8:40 AM

Concerned about the growing pollution in the national capital, different wings of the Delhi Municipal Corporation have tied up with NGOs to replicate Miyawaki forests, a Japanese concept relating to urban areas.

Civic bodies across Delhi have created ‘forests’ and are stepping up their activities as winter comes to an end. Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who passed away last July aged 93, pioneered the concept of natural vegetation restoration of degraded land.

Thousands of native tree species are raised together in small areas, converting the land into Miyawaki forests, which are dense.

The Miyawaki forest project features in the draft master plan for Delhi-2041. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has created two such forests. Earlier this month, the civic body also launched an initiative to plant 100,000 trees under its ‘Green India challenge’ project. Shashanka Ala, deputy commissioner of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, said the aim was to create mini-forests through the Miyawaki method, promoting indigenous species.

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation also plans a forest at a school in Shahabad Mohammadpur village in Dwarka, while the environment ministry is putting up one in New Delhi.

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“Miyawakis are around 30 times denser than a normal forest and for countries like ours, which are vulnerable to climate breakdown, forests are integral for its mitigation,” Madhukar Varshney, founder, Rise foundation, which is helping the civic body in the project, was quoted in the media on Friday. “In Delhi especially, we have found Miyawaki forests to be an ideal solution, as there is scarcity of land or green spaces.”

These pockets help in carbon sequestration, lowering temperature within urban heat islands and supporting local wildlife.


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