In this series, we are going through the stages and steps to create a mini-forest, based on the Miyawaki method.
The previous article focused the third stage – Implement and Connect – and today, we will look into the fourth and final – Celebrate and Empower.
Celebrate and Empower
Task 10: Take care of the forest
The job is not yet done, now that the seedlings are on the ground.
The first two to three years are crucial for the project’s success, and the forest is going to need your attention during that period.
It might be challenging to find volunteers to help you with the maintenance of the forest, but those who visit might grow connected to the project and the place.
Watering, weeding, litter picking, and community building are some of the activities you can offer your community. Don’t neglect the latter; the more people looking at your project as theirs, the more helping hands you’ll have to assist you in keeping it.
Task 11: Keep track of the evolution
Keeping track of the evolution of your mini-forest goes for any project you propose yourself to do. The only way you can know you are closer to your project’s goal is by measuring relevant parameters. These will vary with your goals.
In this case, you would most typically measure the height, cover, diameter, and vigor of your plants to see how they are doing. But you can also track, for instance, the number of volunteers you welcome into your forest, or the amount of activities you host in it. When you are projecting your forest in stage 1, make sure you determine how you measure its success. This way you can adapt and improve.
A team of volunteers takes measurements of the planted seedlings to track their growth. The team is undergoing a monitoring period right now to acess the survivability of the seedlings after the Summer.
Task 12: Live the forest
The last step is ongoing and never-ending – live the forest!
One reason Miyawaki projects are so successful is that they become part of the community’s life. It is not the point to create a pristine piece of wood, let alone in an urban setting. Instead, you are growing and nurturing a place where people and nature can be one again, where both children and adults can learn outdoors and grow connected.
That is far more rewarding and the reason why you are going to succeed.
Easier said than done, no doubt!
Doing research is important – remember the first stages we talked about – but nothing will give you more experience and knowledge than actually doing it.
The Miyawaki method has been tested in different parts of the globe and the truth is, it works differently from place to place. This method relies heavily upon our capacity to observe the environment and the ability to understand natural phenomena, like the relationship between species or their response to abiotic factors. This means you might have to adapt this protocol to your own climate, social context, and capacity.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or method. We must put our ideas to the test, observe the result, and adapt.
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