Hannah Lewis on the Burgeoning “Mini-Forest Revolution”
Writer Hannah Lewis says she practically fell in love with Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki when she first read the 2007 book The Healing Power of Forests, which he co-authored with ecologist Elgene O. Box. The book introduced the Miyawaki method, a reforestation technique that involves planting native trees close together in vacant lots and backyards to restore biodiversity in urban areas and towns. According to advocates, these tiny forests, even with footprints as small as six parking-lot spaces, can grow up to 10 times faster and generate 100 times more biodiversity than forests planted using conventional methods. The concept resonated with Lewis’s own efforts to raise awareness about sustainable ecosystems—including her work as editor of the Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming, a bi-annual, open-access compilation of scientific studies, industry and government reports, and journalistic investigations that outlines the benefits of repairing degraded or destroyed natural ecosystems as part of society’s response to the climate crisis. Reading Miyawaki and Box’s book led her to write an article about the approach for The Guardian in 2020, and a just-released book of her own: Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World (Chelsea Green Publishing).