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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Miyawaki Method – A plausible solution to combat deforestation

A harsh reality that we face today is that the world’s forests are rapidly disappearing. Deforestation is one of the critical issues the world is facing today. The world lost 129 million hectares of forests between 1990 and 2015. Deforestation is thought to be responsible for 5 billion tons of annual worldwide carbon emissions, or 17%, as well as soil erosion and biodiversity loss.


Growing forests, on the other hand, provides various advantages. Forests absorb large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their leaves, branches, trunks, roots, and ground. According to the World Wildlife Fund, tropical forests alone store a quarter of a trillion tons of carbon.Trees store carbon, reducing the carbon in the atmosphere. Forests cool the air and produce oxygen, as well as cleaning our rivers and controlling precipitation and wind. They also protect 80 percent of our terrestrial biodiversity, limit soil erosion, prevent desertification, and mitigate flood damage. Newly planted trees help to restore land that has been damaged by mining, crop production, and livestock overgrazing. Planting trees can also aid in reducing fertilizer runoff into rivers, which produces algal blooms, as well as creating animal corridors between isolated green patches. That is why afforestation is so important for the survival of life on our planet, which is quickly warming while losing its ecological diversity.

The BONN Challenge:

The Bonn Challenge was issued by the UN’s International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the German government in recognition of the importance of forests. In an effort to mitigate the effects of deforestation, Pakistan also planted a billion trees. The Bonn Challenge currently aims to rehabilitate 350 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 by planting millions of trees, building on prior efforts from diverse international players to commit governments to protecting and developing forests.

Afforestation was primarily viewed as a means of generating revenue from timber and other products. As a result, single-species plantations, such as Monterey pine, Sitka spruce, or oil palms, were frequently preferred in afforestation efforts. Many of the Bonn Challenge projects take a monoculture strategy, which has both advantages and disadvantages.

Monoculture forests have carbon benefits: new plantings covering 204 million acres might trap 18.1 gigatons of CO2 by 2050. “They are often developed with simple economic objectives and no consideration for the long-term well-being of the land, environment, or nearby community,” Project Drawdown notes. It also refers to them as “ecological deserts,” because a single-species pine forest, for example, does little to encourage the multi-species plant and animal diversity present in a natural forest. Tree monocultures can also be harmful. Karachi planted 2.2 million non-native Conocarpus trees in 2008, a species known for contributing to droughts in water-scarce areas, raising concerns among experts about the potential negative consequences.

Miyawaki Method of Afforestation:

Akira Miyawaki learnt about the emerging concept of potential natural vegetation as a young doctoral student in the late 1950s. His explorations of the vegetation flourishing throughout his home Japan were guided by this, as well as his studies in phytosociology (the study of how plant species interact with one another). He eventually started going to shrines and watching their holy shrine forests. These were time capsules, according to Miyawaki, demonstrating how indigenous forest was stacked together from four categories of native plantings: principal tree species, subspecies, shrubs, and ground-covering herbs. Miyawaki created his own system for establishing forests based on this four-category approach, his assessments of these places, and his knowledge of PNV and phytosociology.

How does Miyawaki Method Work:

a potential forest site’s soil is assessed and then upgraded with locally accessible sustainable additions, such as rice husks from a nearby mill. About 50 to 100 local plant species from the four categories are chosen and planted as seedlings in a random mix, just as they would grow in the wild. 20,000 to 30,000 seedlings per hectare are planted, compared to 1,000 per hectare in commercial forestry. The site is monitored, irrigated, and weeded for two to three years to allow the young forest every chance to establish itself.

The seedlings compete with each other for space, light, and water during this early stage, which encourages considerably faster development. A meter of growth every year is considered the typical in traditional afforestation processes. Trees grow 10 times quicker under the Miyawaki method. After the forest has been stabilized, it is left to thrive on its own for the rest of its life.

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