Green Venture is pleased to announce a $35,000 grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation’s Community Health, Education and Research Fund to evaluate Hamilton’s first Mini Forest plantings. Green Venture established the City’s first Mini Forest at Windermere Basin Park in 2021. Since that time 3 other Mini Forests have been planted in Hamilton, including at EcoHouse in Stoney Creek, Morton Park in Dundas, and Lake Avenue Park in Stoney Creek. These Mini Forests have been planted based on the Miyawaki reforestation method which uses very dense planting, locally-native species, soil preparation, and multilayered design to replicate the intricacy of a native forest.
In Japan, India, and Europe, where Mini Forests have been successfully grown for more than forty years, they are seen as a key solution to help cities build biodiversity, climate resilience and wellbeing. The dense planting and intensive soil preparation of this method is reputed to result in fast-growing forests that deliver carbon storage benefits quicker, dissuade invasive plants, and make optimal use of available plantable land. In Hamilton, Mini Forests could help us grow and enhance our urban forest, boost greenspace, reduce stormwater runoff, improve air quality, and reconnect people to nature.
As this is a new technique in Canada, no research has been conducted to date of how the Miyawaki method (developed in other continents and forest types) can be applied to achieve the greatest ecological outcomes in Southern Ontario. The study also seeks to understand residents’ perceptions of Mini Forests through surveys and interviews to better understand social factors that may affect the uptake of this method.
This project will help Green Venture and their partners, including the Vineland Research and Innovative Centre, the City of Hamilton Forestry Section, Green Communities Canada, and the Institute of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Toronto, to better understand the outcomes and benefits of Mini Forest plantings in Hamilton. Field research will be conducted on the environmental outcomes of Mini Forest plantings, including data collection on tree growth rates, seedling survivorship, soil structure, and soil microorganisms. Green Venture will also create 4 new Mini Forest plots using different variations of Miyawaki method site preparation, which will be monitored into the future.
Our research and findings will help build a healthy community by directly supporting the City of Hamilton to achieve their community climate change and tree planting goals. This research will also benefit other local and national community tree planting efforts, with improved monitoring protocols to assess Mini Forests, and research-based guidelines to ensure more successful ecological and social outcomes of Mini Forest plantings.
How Can You Help?
To get involved in this project as a volunteer, keep on the lookout for our Mini Forest planting happening this fall or help us steward our past Mini Forests from May to September through our Upcoming Events webpage.
The project is supported by the Conserver Society of Hamilton.