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Miyawaki Forests: A Unique Approach to Afforestation


PM Modi during his latest ‘Mann ki baat’ episode spoke about Miyawaki plantation, the Japanese method of creating dense urban forests in a small area.

  • The PM also cited the example of a Kerala-based teacher, Raafi Ramnath, who used the Miyawaki technique to transform a barren land into a mini forest called Vidyavanam by planting 115 varieties of trees.


GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Miyawaki Forests: A Unique Approach to Afforestation
  2. Key Principles of the Miyawaki Method
  3. Benefits of Miyawaki Forests

Miyawaki Forests: A Unique Approach to Afforestation

Methodology Development:

  • Miyawaki forests or Miyawaki technique developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki.
  • Originated in the 1970s with the aim to increase green cover within small areas.

Dense and Multi-layered Forests:

  • Method involves creating dense forests with multiple layers of vegetation.
  • Emphasizes rapid growth and mimicking the biodiversity of native forests.

Plant Diversity:

  • Two to four different types of indigenous trees are planted within each square meter.
  • Promotes a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

Low Maintenance:

  • Plants used in Miyawaki method are mostly self-sustaining.
  • Requires minimal maintenance such as manuring and watering.

Self-sustainability and Rapid Growth:

  • Trees in Miyawaki forests become self-sustaining over time.
  • They reach their full height within three years of planting.

Key Principles of the Miyawaki Method:

Plant Diversity and Proximity:

  • Planting numerous native species in close proximity encourages natural competition and symbiotic relationships.
  • Creates a self-sustaining ecosystem with a diverse range of species.

High-Density Planting:

  • Trees are planted in high density to ensure quick canopy closure.
  • Minimizes sunlight reaching the ground, reducing weed growth and enhancing sapling growth.

Soil Preparation:

  • The soil is carefully prepared by adding organic matter, nutrients, and microorganisms.
  • Creates a fertile and conducive environment for tree growth.


  • Mulch is applied to the forest floor.
  • Helps retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and enhance soil fertility.

Care and Maintenance:

  • Proper care and maintenance, including watering, weeding, and monitoring, are crucial during the initial years.
  • Ensures the successful establishment of the forest and supports healthy growth.

Benefits of Miyawaki Forests:

Rapid Growth and High Density:

  • Miyawaki forests have a remarkable growth rate, reaching maturity in a shorter time compared to traditional plantations.
  • They grow 10 times faster, are 30 times denser, and contain 100 times more biodiversity.

Thriving Habitat and Biodiversity:

  • Miyawaki forests become thriving habitats for birds, insects, and wildlife, contributing to overall ecosystem health and resilience.

Carbon Absorption and Climate Change Mitigation:

  • The dense vegetation and rapid growth of Miyawaki forests enable efficient carbon absorption.
  • They help mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Soil Enrichment:

  • Careful soil preparation enriches soil fertility and structure, promoting healthier tree growth and ecosystem development.

Noise and Air Pollution Reduction:

  • Miyawaki forests in urban areas act as sound barriers, helping to mitigate noise pollution.
  • They contribute to improving air quality by absorbing pollutants and reducing air pollution levels.

Water Retention and Prevention of Water Pollution:

  • The dense vegetation of Miyawaki forests absorbs rainfall and reduces runoff, leading to better water retention.
  • They help prevent water pollution by filtering out pollutants and sediments.

Regulation of Surface Temperatures:

  • Miyawaki forests can help regulate surface temperatures, particularly in urban areas affected by the urban heat island effect.
  • They provide shade and cooling effects, reducing the impact of high temperatures in urban environments.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023