Ask me (almost) anything, March 2022

Mar 21, 2022

Today is International Day of Forests!

In celebration of this international day, we asked Mark’s guidance for growing our forest.

Growing OUR forest is part of our Global Tree Initiative’s vision.

“Do you have any guidance or advice we can take into consideration when starting an urban forest?”

Mark suggests that “a multi-layered approach to the structure of any forest is especially important. This helps to mimic a natural setting, borrowing from the permaculture approach.”

These multi-layers include herbs, ground covers, tussocks, different-sized shrubs, different-sized trees with climbers, vines, etcetera.

As for the growing part, the plants will find their own equilibrium. Some will die, some will take over, while some are shaded, and others seek the light. All these relationships evolve over time with assistance from us (but mostly un-aided).

It is important to remain open-minded to the result, which will not be exactly the way we imagined. This is both exciting, and offers room for improvements, on a trial-and-error basis.

One of the methods to create an urban forest, is the Miyawaki method (link to success story comes here).

In response to the Miyawaki method, Mark comments that the climate crisis requires multiple actions across different disciplines and contexts. In a highly urbanized setting where land is scarce and small in scale, an urban forest could be particularly useful and appropriate.

“Overall, if the setting is designed well and there is supportive community cooperation, then it is a worthwhile strategy. Over time, all design ideas evolve and mature. Some leaders step up and devote their lives to such activities, which are at the heart of stewardship of community, land, and nature. If the right ingredients are present, some good actions will bear fruit. Others will fall away.”

As for urban forests in general, Mark concludes that “Seeking a plant-filled environment to filter the urban air and noise is a key requirement. Visual enjoyment follows with flowers and colour. Then, a refuge for birds and insects. The task is never complete or finished.”

Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Mark! Now, we have a better understanding about urban forests. We appreciate learning from you!

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