June 19, 2023
In an effort to combat climate change, curb pollution levels, and increase the green cover of Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has embraced the Miyawaki plantation method. This Japanese technique involves creating dense urban forests within small land parcels using indigenous plant species. The success of this method can be seen in the transformation of barren lands into thriving mini forests.
Densifying Green Cover
The Miyawaki method aims to densify green cover within limited spaces. Raafi Ramnath, a Kerala-based teacher, used this technique to create Vidyavanam, a mini forest comprising 115 varieties of trees. By planting two to four types of indigenous trees per square meter, these forests become self-sustaining and reach their full length within three years. The use of indigenous plants ensures their adaptability to the local environment.
Role of Dense Green Cover
The dense green cover of indigenous trees serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it helps absorb dust particles, contributing to cleaner air and a healthier environment. Additionally, these trees play a crucial role in regulating surface temperature, helping combat the urban heat island effect. Common indigenous plants used include Anjan, Amala, Bel, Arjun, and Gunj.
Progress in Mumbai
The BMC has made significant strides in creating Miyawaki forests across Mumbai. To date, 64 forests have been planted, with more than 400,000 trees flourishing in these green havens. The first Miyawaki forest was established in Bhakti Park, Chembur, and has inspired subsequent projects throughout the city. These forests have not only restored the green cover but have also helped create new biodiversity and enhance soil fertility.
The BMC has ambitious plans to further expand the urban forest network. In the coming year, they aim to establish 14 additional Miyawaki forests, planting around 80,400 trees of various indigenous species. This initiative aligns with the target of planting 100,000 saplings set by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Planned locations include an open plot near BEST Colony, Swami Vivekanand Udyan in Chandivali, and Mahakali caves road in Jogeshwari, which is expected to be the largest forest in the project.