perennial plants

Hannah Lewis on the mini-forest revolution


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Welcome back to this ongoing series on tree planting and agroforestry. As I’ve been researching this topic for years I’ve begun to see a spectrum of tree planting concepts that look like a gradient based on the diversity in the system. On one extreme you have monoculture orchards and timber plantations which are just a single species on large tracts of land, and on the other extreme you have syntropic agroforestry for productive systems and what are known as Miyawaki forests for native reforestation initiatives. 

In both cases these are very densely planted areas of tens or even hundreds of different species. In both cases the idea is to accelerate the succession and maturation of the system by leveraging the diversity of plant communities to mimic natural forests to promote growth and resilience in the plantation. 

In today’s episode we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of Miyawaki forests with Hannah Lewis, the author of the new book, “Mini-Forest Revolution.” Hannah Lewis is a writer focusing on people, nature, and conservation. She edits the Compendium of Scientific and Practical Finding Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming, published by Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, an environmental nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she discovered the Miyawaki Method and wrote Mini-Forest Revolution while living with her partner and their two children in France.

In this episode we’re going to get into the history of Akira Miyawaki, the visionary scientists and ecologist behind the tree planting method. We’ll also break down the details of what makes this way of planting native forests so effective and revolutionary, from the deep research required to create a planting list, how to prepare the ground to ensure the trees get off to a healthy start, how to maintain the planted area as it gets established and a lot more. 

We also explore the powerful community building potential of getting people together to replant degraded areas, so make sure to listen all the way to the end when Hannah gives her advice on how to start a Miyawaki forest for yourself.

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