Forests are rightfully claimed to be the LUNGS of the environment. Sadly, on the pretence of improving the lives of the people, we are razing as much of it as possible.
In fact, not only the environment but our health is significantly affected due to deforestation. Thus, we should focus on developing solutions that actually benefit nature by keeping it safe, and not ruin it.
The loss caused by deforestation is irreversible, and it is high time that we realise the importance of forest cover.
A ray of hope in this situation is the ‘Miyawaki’ method of growing a forest. Miyawaki is an innovative method of growing small-scale man-made forests.
Say Trees, a non-profit organisation (NGO), is currently implementing the Miyawaki technique.
Shashank Sharma, the head of Miyawaki forests, Say Trees, tells WeJan, “We have created 72 Miyawaki forests in different cities and villages across India. We are doing our bit in increasing the green cover.”
Below are some of the extracts of our conversation with the programme manager:
What is Miyawaki forest? Can you explain us in detail?
The Miyawaki forestation method is a unique way to create an urban forest. Dr Akira Miyawaki pioneered this method.
In this method, a clump of saplings of trees is planted close to each other in a piece of land. This results in dense green forests.
In India, Dr Akira Miyawaki himself planted the first Miyawaki forest at the Toyota campus. Say Trees planted its first Miyawaki forest in September 2016 at the Railway Diesel Loco Shed, KR Puram, Bengaluru.
Say Trees NGO also provides a platform for volunteering. Can you explain that?
Back in 2014-15, the strength of volunteers was very less. But later on, it gradually started increasing. And then there was a point where we got 1500 volunteers in a day. The basic work of volunteers is either to plant the saplings or to maintain them.
As a result of the immense response, we also hosted an event. So those people coming to the event will spread the word about it.
The volunteers were seeing the trees growing which they themselves had planted. And this gave a boost to many people to associate with say trees.
What is the need for Miyawaki forest according to you?
Miyawaki forest is an answer for the urban heat island effect. It helps all the native birds, insects to adapt to these forests as their habitat.
It helps to improve the temperature of that particular area inside Miyawaki forest. Along with it, Miyawaki forests also help in improving the soil conditions and stop soil erosion. They are very beneficial for the local biodiversity.
In urban areas, all we can see is concretisation. There is no available free space for green cover. But, this method is basically meant for a small area of land. We cannot plant a Miyawaki forest on 100 acres or 50 acres of land.
So this is a package deal for people living in urban areas to increase the green cover.
We cannot compare Miyawaki forests to natural forests. But, they are just a replica of what people have started doing in urban cities.
Why would you encourage people to practice this method?
According to my opinion, we should adopt the technology. And by using it, find more solutions to a better environment. I would request people to come forward, practice the Miyawaki method. And in turn, take Miyawaki forests to urban areas as far as possible.
Today, urban areas are facing a lot of problems. Pollution, deforestation, global warming are increasing to a higher extent.
These problems are indirectly affecting us, humans. And Miyawaki forest can be an answer for these.
But we should make sure we are practising it in a small area. Also, we should take care that we aren’t disturbing any natural vegetation.
But still, they are introducing some green cover. This will help to make the lives of humans and other living beings much better.
You can visit the website – https://www.saytrees.org/