Rapid Urban Forests using the Miyawaki Afforestation Method – Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council

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Rapid Urban Forests using the Miyawaki Afforestation Method

Problem

  • Accelerating depletion of biodiversity across the state of Kerala.
  • Depletion of traditional medicinal plants and potential natural vegetation in Kerala.
  • Intense Climate Change and Micro-climatic Variations in Kerala.
  • Extreme urbanisation with a lack of sufficient green spaces.
  • Availability of indigenous saplings.

Solution

  • Contrary to the prevailing monopoly of mono-crop plantations, a diverse variety of plant species were planted.
  • The prominence is given to planting natural potential vegetation.
  • Planting dense Miyawaki forests is a method that helps create forests rapidly with positive impacts on carbon footprint.
  • Trees of various size classifications are planted closely as patches in the available urban spaces.
  • Mulching the planted ground to retain moisture and arrest weed growth.

Challenges

  • Availability of land for creating forests in urban spaces.
  • Acceptance of the method of planting trees very closely, contradictory to the conservative technique of planting.
  • The procedure of growing saplings in grow bags with custom-made potting mix to facilitate healthy roots.
  • Implementation of the project during the COVID pandemic.
  • Claiming carbon credits as its evaluation lacks governance and unified standards.

Innovation

  • The Miyawaki method is the most cost-effective method in areas with high land prices.
  • It saves over 95% of land requirements compared to conventional afforestation and offers better biodiversity.
  • High input of organic materials boosts the initial growth of plants and maintains a high growth rate throughout.
  • Saplings are grown in bigger grow bags for healthy root development and then replanted in the ground.
  • Absence of use of insecticides or pesticides and letting nature implement the prey-predator model.

Outcomes

  • Biodiversity is enhanced with several varieties of fauna being attracted and hosted.
  • Restoration of many disappearing and almost extinct plants and trees.
  • The forests catalyse the carbon sink function, facilitate soil carbon sequestration, and reduce the rate at which CO2, mainly from fossil fuel burning, builds up in the atmosphere.
  • Lower atmospheric heat through evapotranspiration, and improved groundwater levels through artificial recharge.
  • Improved air quality through phytoremediation.

SKOCH Award Nominee

Category: Other – State Department
Sub-Category: secOther – State Department
Project: Rapid Urban Forests using the Miyawaki Afforestation Method
Start Date: 2019-03-26
Organisation: Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council
Respondent: Dr Unnikrishnan Potheri Vasudevan, Member Secretary
https://kdisc.kerala.gov.in/
Level: Excellence


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Case Study

Rapid Urban Forests using the Miyawaki Afforestation Method

Introduction

This project is regarding the scientific deployment of Miyawaki afforestation methodology in close association with the Local Self Government and community involvement and participation. A multistakeholder approach was followed with participation from the community, social organisations (Nature‚Äôs Green Guardian Foundation), and Government agencies (Local Self Government Institutes), among others. 

Problems

There has been an acceleration in the depletion of biodiversity across the state of Kerala. Also, the depletion of traditional medicinal plants and potential natural vegetation in Kerala has posed as significant hurdles. It must also be noted that intense Climate Change has had a significant impact on the natural vegetation of Kerala. 

Solutions

Contrary to the prevailing monopoly of mono-crop plantations, various plant species were planted. Significant importance has been given to planting natural potential vegetation. Planting of dense Miyawaki forests is carried on, a method that helps create forests rapidly with positive impacts on carbon footprint. 

Outcomes

Biodiversity enhanced with several varieties of fauna are being attracted and hosted. Restoration of many disappearing and almost extinct plants and trees. The forests catalyse the carbon sink function, facilitate soil carbon sequestration, and reduce the rate at which CO2, mainly from fossil fuel burning, builds up in the atmosphere. 

Challenges

There was a lack of availability of land for creating forests in urban spaces. It was a major challenge to find indigenous saplings as indigenous saplings were unavailable. 

Innovation

The Miyawaki method is the most cost-effective method in areas with high land prices. It saves over 95% of land requirements compared to conventional afforestation and offers better biodiversity. 

Opportunities

Plans are to find alternatives to make the method more cost-friendly. Incentivising the public to motivate them to create green spaces by using the Miyawaki method of rapid afforestation. Propagating programs amongst the public to make them aware of the importance of creating green spaces to mitigate climate change. 

Summary

K-DISC has afforested 1.5 acres of unutilised land in urban areas in over 12 districts in Kerala, in a method proven to create dense forests rapidly in a short period of 2 to 3 years. The demonstrative value of the project has become a showcase to the public to embrace the technique of Miyawaki afforestation, which can contribute to tackling the harsher climate change impacts.


For more information, please contact:
Dr Unnikrishnan Potheri Vasudevan, Member Secretary at ms.kdisc@kdisc.kerala.gov.in


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