Minibigforest in Nantes

Compendium Volume 3 Number 1 July 2019

Hearing of plans underway for a four-lane highway near their home in Nantes, France, local residents Jim and Stephanie responded by planting a small forest. The idea was not only to block out the added sound and air pollution, but also to try to compensate for the assault on the planet of any road expansion. The couple was inspired by Shubhendhu Sharma, who spoke at the 2018 Nantes festival Aux Arbes[8]. Sharma showed the audience how 300 trees of 30-some species could be planted in the space of six parking places. He described the Miyawaki Method, which mimics natural forests in terms of biodiversity and density, outperforms the growth rate of monoculture plantations tenfold, and works well in urban areas because it takes so little space. Within the following year, Jim and Stephanie, along with dozens of volunteers and school kids, planted more than 2000 trees on two sites. To encourage Miyawaki-style afforestation projects everywhere, the couple launched the initiative Minibigforest; this is only the beginning for them.

[8] Aux Arbes is French for “to the trees.” The name of this festival is perhaps a reference to a 2007 hit song in France: “Aux Arbes Citoyens,” which has an ecological message; see:

For the full PDF version of the compendium issue where this article appears, visit Compendium Volume 3 Number 1 July 2019