The Miyawaki Method: A Road to the Green World

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The Miyawaki method is a path-breaking initiative in the recreation of forests in India, particularly, in the context of climate change and environment conservation. A judicious conservation policy is the need of the hour as conservation initiatives are affecting people’s lives and livelihoods. Thus, this method offers an opportunity to everyone to be associated with environment conservation by growing a forest in their backyard.

Hover over the image on the right to learn more about the miyawaki method of conservation.

Akira Miyawaki
miyawaki

Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese ecologist, studied the concept of “potential natural vegetation,” which is the natural vegetation sustained by existing conditions of the location in the absence of any human support.

He recognised the prominence of “native forests” as the basis for human survival and developed what is known as the “Miyawaki method” to restore and reconstruct forests indigenous to the habitat based on rigorous field investigations of the local vegetation and ecological theories (Blue Planet Prize 2006: 251).

SINCE 1973

Since 1973, Akira Miyawaki and his team have been developing environment protection forests; hence, after 25 years, they could successfully restore native forests at about 550 locations in Japan (Miyawaki 1999: 15). Also, this method has been successfully implemented at various locales in Asia, inclu­ding the Great Wall in China; Tropical Forest Regeneration Project in Sarawak, Malaysia; and Brazil and Chile in South America (Miya­waki 1998; Anonymous 2006: 226). It is ­estimated that under the auspices of Miyawaki, a total of 4 crore trees in over 1,700 sites have been planted (Miya­waki 2010: 57). It is proven that this planting method is a crucial approach in restoring the green environment to prevent disasters and sustain local to global environments (Miyawaki 1999: 15).

chinju-no-mori

Traditionally, Japanese people used to create as well as preserve small groves or forest patches around temples, shrines, and wherever there was some object of religious or other spiritual honour, which are called chinju-no-mori. Miyawaki’s method of reforestation with native forests by local trees is also based on this traditional Japanese practice of chinju-no-mori along with ecology—a new synthetic science that integrates biocoenoses and environment

The greenery of native forests comprising trees indigenous to the area, as symbolised by the sacred groves of village shrines or chinju-no-mori, is most imperative as it safeguards life and protects the environment than any other forms of man-made greeneries (Miyawaki 2006a: 259).

The creation of forests through this method begins with…

Thorough vegetation–ecological field surveys to grasp the potential natural vegetation of the area.

The seeds of native tree species should be collected from the forest communities of the region and germinated.

Further, nurse the potted saplings until the root groups fill the containers.

Then plant them on the area with recovering topsoil to a depth of 20–30 cm by mixing the soil and compost from organic materials on the basis of three saplings per square meter.

Here, a hierarchical vegetation community system is decided via species combi- nations where the main tree species are planted and mixed densely with as many companion species as possible according to the system of natural forests.

The site becomes maintenance- free after three years of planting where nature manages itself through natural selection (Figure 1) (Miyawaki 2004: 84–85).

 

Illustrated, designed and curated by akankshya@epw.in
This feature is based on the article Climate Change and the Miyawaki Forests: A Promising Conservation Policy for India by Anju Lis Kurian and C Vinodan.