Miyawaki Forests

Context: The Prime Minister during his latest ‘Mann ki baat’ episode spoke about Miyawaki plantation.
  • He gave the example of a Kerala-based teacher, Raafi Ramnath, who used the Miyawaki technique to transform a barren land into a mini forest.
About Miyawaki Plantation:
  • Miyawaki is an ecological engineering work where native plants/ trees are planted in a scientific method to create an arrangement of fast growing, dense, varied species of plants.
  • Plants draw nutrients from each other and become healthy.
  • Trees grow 10 times faster and absorb 30 times more carbon dioxide.
  • Density is 30 times that of normal trees plantation.
  • Named after: Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki
  • Developed in: 1970s
  • Objective: To densify green cover within a small parcel of land.
  • Common indigenous plants used: Anjan, Amala, Bel, Arjun and Gunj.
Method:
  • The native trees of the region are divided into four layers after identification and analysis of soil quality.
  • The four layers include shrub, sub-tree, tree, and canopy.
  • The biomass is mixed with soil to enhance its nutrients, perforation and water retention capacity.
  • Further, the seeds are planted on soil made mound at a high density i.e 3 to 5 saplings per square meter and a thick layer of mulch is used to cover the ground.
  • The trees become self-sustaining and they grow to their full length within three years.
Consequences of faulty implementation:
  • Unsuitable Ecosystems: Planting Miyawaki forests in arid regions like Kutch in Gujarat, Jaipur in Rajasthan, and parts of the Deccan Plateau may be inappropriate due to the lack of natural support for dense forests.
  • Negative Impact on Native Ecosystems: Artificially pumping water and nutrients to grow trees in bone-dry landscapes can disrupt native ecosystems, jeopardizing plants and animals dependent on them.
  • Hydrological Impact: The introduction of new trees in arid areas may affect the region’s hydrology, as they can deplete already scarce resources and contribute to the exhaustion of the water table.
  • Harm to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Resilience: Planting the wrong tree species in unsuitable soils reduces biodiversity, drives species towards extinction, and hampers ecosystem resilience.
Significance of the Miyawaki Method: 
  • Absorb the dust particles of the area where the garden has been set up.
  • Help in regulating surface temperature.
  • Store earth-warming carbon dioxide, sustain wildlife, improve the health of ecosystems, and provide employment.
  • Self-sustaining and don’t require regular maintenance like manuring and watering.
News Source: Indian ExpressThe Hindu

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