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Benefits of creating pocket forests in the city


Benefits of creating pocket forests in the city

What are pocket forests?

Pocket forests, also known as microgreens, microlands or microgreen systems, are small wooded areas located in urban spaces. They can be small squares, parks, courtyards, street greenbelts or other unused spaces that have been transformed into places with a lot of vegetation.

A characteristic feature of pocket forests is their small size, which differs from traditional woodland areas or urban parks. They may occupy only a few square metres or a few tens of square metres, but nevertheless play an important role in improving the quality of life in the city.

Pocket forests are designed to provide urban residents with a green enclave that can serve as a place for relaxation, recreation, social gatherings or communing with nature, despite being in the centre of a crowded city. They are also important for the preservation of biodiversity in the urban environment, providing shelter for plants and animals and contributing to improved air quality and climate.

Creating pocket forests often requires cooperation between the local community, municipal authorities, environmental experts and landscape architects. With proper planning and investment, spaces can be created that not only improve the aesthetics of urban landscapes, but also support public health and sustainable urban development.

Miyawaki forests

Pocket forests, also known as Miyawaki forests, are an innovative method of tree planting developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki. This technique, named after its creator, has become popular worldwide as an effective way to restore degraded land, improve air quality and increase biodiversity.

The Miyawaki method involves planting a wide variety of tree and plant species in a small area to quickly achieve dense, multi-layered vegetation. It is a process based on the principles of ecological succession, which aims to restore natural forest ecosystems in a very short time.

The main features of Miyawaki forests are:

  • Multi-layered vegetation: Under this method, several layers of plants are planted, including trees, shrubs, perennials and young plants, leading to rapid and dense vegetation growth.
  • Species diversity: Miyawaki forests are usually composed of many different species of trees and plants, which helps to increase biodiversity and strengthen ecosystems.
  • Sustainable self-regulation: Thanks to the diversity of vegetation, Miyawaki forests are able to self-regulate, meaning that they require less human intervention once they reach full maturity.
  • Rapid growth: By using this method, pocket forests grow much faster than traditional silviculture, allowing dense and diverse ecosystems to be achieved quickly.

Miyawaki forests have provided significant environmental benefits and their popularity continues to grow. They are being used worldwide as an effective tool to combat climate change, environmental degradation and improve the quality of life in cities by creating green enclaves in urban landscapes. This innovative method of planting trees inspires hope for a better future for our planet by encouraging the restoration and nurturing of natural ecosystems.

Benefits of pocket forests in the city

In cities around the world, as populations urbanise, the pursuit of sustainability is becoming more urgent. In this context, one of the most innovative solutions is the creation of so-called ‘pocket forests’ – small, green enclaves in the heart of the concrete urban jungle. These small oases of nature not only improve the aesthetics of urban landscapes, but also bring a range of environmental, public health and community benefits.

A pocket forest, also known as a microgreen system, is a wooded area of small size, usually located in urban spaces such as squares, parks, courtyards or other unused areas. Although they may be relatively small, their impact on the quality of urban life is enormous.

One of the main benefits of pocket forests is improved air quality. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants, helping to clean the air and reduce pollution. In addition, urban greenery helps to reduce the heat island effect, which is often a problem in large cities, helping to mitigate the effects of extreme temperatures.

The introduction of pocket forests in the city also has a positive impact on the mental health of residents. Studies have shown that communing with nature can reduce stress levels, improve mood and generally contribute to a better sense of wellbeing. In crowded and busy cities, such small enclaves of greenery can provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing residents to relax and unwind in nature for a while.

In addition, pocket forests contribute to biodiversity in the city. They provide a habitat for a variety of plant and animal species that attract birds, insects and other creatures, supporting urban ecosystematic diversity.

The creation of pocket forests can also bring economic benefits. There is ample evidence that the presence of green space in a neighbourhood can increase property values, which benefits residents and the local economy.

The introduction of pocket forests requires cooperation between the local community, municipal authorities, environmental experts and landscape architects. With the right planning and investment, spaces can be created that not only improve the quality of life in the city, but also represent an important step towards sustainable urban development.

Here are some concrete examples of sites and pocket forests around the world:

  • Miyawaki Forest, Japan: This is one of the best-known examples of a pocket forest, which was established in Kobe, Japan, in 1971 by Akira Miyawaki. It is probably one of the oldest and most successful projects of its kind. Miyawaki Forest in Kobe has become a symbol of the success of the tree planting method developed by Miyawaki.
  • Millennium Park, Chicago, United States: Chicago, Illinois, is home to Millennium Park, which contains a variety of green spaces, including a pocket forest. The park is one of Chicago’s most popular recreational destinations and plays an important role in improving the quality of life for Chicago residents.
  • Greenway in Seoul, South Korea: In Seoul, the capital of South Korea, there are various green spaces, including green corridors that act as pocket forests. These green spaces serve as recreational areas for Seoul residents and as oases for local wildlife.
  • Lavasa City, India: Lavasa City is a planned city in India that has many green spaces, including pocket forests. These green enclaves are an important part of Lavasa’s urbanisation plan to create a people- and nature-friendly place.
  • Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia: Centennial Park in Sydney is another example of a place that contains pocket forests. The park is a popular recreational destination for Sydney residents and plays an important role in improving the quality of life in the city.

Planting a pocket forest in Lubon with the One More Tree Foundation

The One More Tree Foundation is committed to undertaking pocket forest planting initiatives that contribute to improving the environment and quality of life in cities. With the support of the One More Tree Foundation, Luboń youth and volunteers, the first pocket forest in Luboń was planted on Earth Day on 22 April 2024 in the area behind the Orlen station from Ogrodowa Street! During this event, 2 000 tree seedlings of native species were planted, creating a green oasis in the heart of the city that will serve the community and contribute to the protection of the environment.

In conclusion, pocket forests are not only aesthetic additions to urban landscapes, but also important tools in the fight against urban environmental problems, improving air quality, public health and biodiversity. The introduction of these small oases of greenery can contribute to creating friendlier, healthier and sustainable cities for future generations.