Madurai

Miyawaki forests take root and spread in Madurai

Trees grown in Miyawaki method at Walkers’ Park at K.K. Nagar in Madurai.

Trees grown in Miyawaki method at Walkers’ Park at K.K. Nagar in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

Successful examples, increased awareness have spurred an interest among people

A stroll at Walkers’ Park on the bank of Vandiyur Tank at K.K. Nagar would reveal a copse of different species and varying heights on a small patch of land. “There is a visible growth of trees in a short span of eight months. The guava tree, for instance, is now more than 10 feet tall,” says A.A.G. Rajkumar, president of Walker’s Club, which maintains the park.

The trees are raised in Miyawaki method, a technique of raising dense forests, named after Japanese botanist and plant ecologist Akira Miyawaki. In this method, plant growth is fast and foliage denser.

“With increasing deforestation due to urbanisation, Miyawaki method is ideal for urban spaces where a few cents of land can be set aside to grow dense forests,” says K. Sakthivel, founder of RainMan, a start-up that promotes Miyawaki method.

Similarly, Miyawaki forests raised at Madurai Corporation Commissioner’s residence, Special Needs Park on Alagarkoil Road and Corporation Zone 2 office have shown significant growth.

Successful examples and increased awareness of the concept have spurred an interest among people to raise trees in Miyawaki method.

Recently, around 1,000 saplings were raised by private organisations in Chellampatti. M.C. Saravanan, secretary of Vaa Nanba, a non-governmental organisation focussing on increasing Madurai’s green cover, says the organisation received around 150 phone calls from residents across the city in the last three months regarding growing Miyawaki forests.

The Corporation has planned to raise 100 saplings each at 25 sites, including parks, sewage treatment plants, micro-composting centres and ward offices.

Saplings are raised on plots of land dug up to six feet and filled with various layers of compost, biodegradable waste and red soil.

These dense forests improve groundwater level, says Mr. Saravanan. “Dense forests increase biodiversity. In three years, one can notice birds crowding these dense forests. In this natural process, soil fertility also improves,” he says.

Also, trees grow at a faster rate in Miyawaki method, he adds.

It is ideal to grow a combination of trees with varying heights and circumferences in this method, says Mr. Sakthivel. “It is advisable to grow trees using Miyawaki method at parks, open spaces in peri-urban areas, on the premises of industries and along the banks of channels,” he says.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 3:00:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/miyawaki-forests-take-root-and-spread-in-madurai/article30558882.ece

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