Miyawaki Forest Program

Miyawaki Forests

Everyone needs a forest, because not only are they one of the most efficient means for sequestering carbon, but the most effective system for cooling the planet, especially on the local level.

With the loss of green spaces, more and more people are feeling the effects of heat islands, localized hotspots that can be readily combated by planting and stewarding healthy ecosystems.

Our solution is to foster the planting of mini-forests using the Miywaki Method.

Urban heat island in the City of Melbourne

Our Program

Our goal is to lead the way in establishing mini forests in under-resourced communities, starting with the first ever Miyawaki Forest to be planted in New England! We’re working with local and Indigenous groups to create tree equity through the sowing of healthy ecosystems. Explore our project pages and linked resources, and find out how you can get involved in our work.

The Miyawaki Method

We are involved in planting, supporting, and educating people on this method of afforestation, and are looking for people like you to help us steward this revolution!

Miyawaki Forests are biodiverse, native, pocket-sized forests that reestablish full, functioning ecosystems in the areas they are planted. This scalable, replicable nature-based climate solution leads to cooling, increased biodiversity, and communal resilience, among other benefits.

The steps of the Miyawaki Method

(Image Credit: SUGi)


Our Forests

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Planted in September 2021, this project is the first example of a Miyawaki Forest in the entire Northeastern US!

Danehy Park

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Planted November 5, 2022

Greene-Rose Park

Natick, Massachusetts, USA

Planted September 30, 2023

Natick High School

Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

Planted October 22, 2023

Somerville High School

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Coming in Spring 2024

North Cambridge

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Coming in Spring 2024

Downtown Worcester


Our Experts

Maya Dutta, Assistant Director Regenerative Projects

Maya Dutta is a dedicated environmental advocate and ecosystem restorer with a focus on the crucial role of biodiversity in shaping our climate and natural cycles. With extensive training from SUGI and collaborative work with experts like Ethan Bryson and Hannah Lewis, Maya brings specialized expertise in coastal New England region species and Miyawaki projects, from community engagement and plant selection to ongoing evaluation. Notably, she played a key role in planting the first Miyawaki forest in the Northeast US. Her work aims to fight global climate change while improving human livelihoods and community equity.

Hannah Lewis Former Compendium Editor, Author

Hannah Lewis was the editor of our “Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming,” and an expert on the Miyawaki Method. Hannah has diverse experience in sustainable practices, previously serving as the Midwest regional director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology. She holds an MS in Sustainable Agriculture and Sociology from Iowa State University and a BA in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College. She is the author of “Mini-Forest Revolution,” a book motivated by her desire to transform environmental anxieties into positive actions. Through both her writing and forest-planting initiatives, she aims to demonstrate the inextricable link between human well-being and thriving ecosystems. 

Collage of the development of our Danehy Park Forest

Testimonials

Within a few years, many of the now 14-foot saplings would be as tall as telephone poles and the forest would be self-sufficient. Healthy woodlands absorb carbon dioxide, clean the air and provide for wildlife. But these tiny forests promise even more.”

Cara Buckley, New York Times

They can grow as quickly as ten times the speed of conventional tree plantations, enabling them to support more birds, animals and insects, and to sequester more carbon, while requiring no weeding or watering after the first three years”

Cara Buckley, New York Times

This has by far and away gotten the most positive feedback from the public and residents than we’ve had for any project, and we do a lot”

Andrew Putnam, superintendent of urban forestry and landscapes for the city of Cambridge, on our Danehy Park Project

Learn More

Feature from The Christian Science Monitor on Bio4Climate’s first two forests
GBH Talk from Hannah Lewis on the Miyawaki Method
Bio4Climate Staffer Maya Dutta’s TEDx talk on Miyawaki Forests

Hannah Lewis’ book on the Miyawaki Method

From the “Mini Forest Revolution” Forward:

Much of what we hear about the climate crisis is the rate at which peril is increasing and the lack of sufficient action on all levels of agency. We are surfeited with news of the problems, probabilities, and impacts. It is almost too much to take in. What is missing that lends balance to the news is possibility. Every problem is a solution in disguise, or it would not be a problem. The Miyawaki Method is crucial because it is a possibility that can be implemented by people everywhere, and as Hannah points out, by communities, classrooms, cities, clubs, families, and yes, even countries if they wake up. We do not have to wait for nations, banks, and corporations to act. — Paul Hawken

In the News

NYT article covering our Danehy Park Forest, among others

Tiny Forests with Big Benefits

The tiny forest lives atop an old landfill in the city of Cambridge, Mass. Though it is still a baby, it’s already acting quite a bit older than its actual age, which is just shy of 2. Its aspens are growing at twice the speed normally expected, with fragrant sumac and tulip trees racing to catch up. It has absorbed storm water without washing out, suppressed many weeds and stayed lush throughout last year’s drought. The little forest managed all this because of its enriched soil and density, and despite its diminutive size: 1,400 native shrubs and saplings, thriving in an area roughly the size of a basketball court. It is part of a sweeping movement that is transforming dusty highway shoulders, parking lots, schoolyards and junkyards worldwide.

Hannah Lewis’ Guardian article on Miyawaki forests

Fast-growing mini-forests spring up in Europe to aid climate

As Europe grapples with the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, a growing movement is turning to tiny, densely-packed forests for solutions. Based on the pioneering Miyawaki Method from Japan, these mini-forests are springing up in spaces as small as tennis courts but offer outsized benefits: they grow ten times faster, and are far denser and more biodiverse than conventional forests. Lauded by scientists and wildlife experts alike, these micro-ecosystems not only serve as effective carbon sinks but also have the potential to act as vital wildlife corridors.

Boston.com article on our Danehy Park forest project

The first Miyawaki forest in the Northeast was planted in Cambridge. Organizers hope it’s just the start.

A groundbreaking forest is taking root in Cambridge’s Danehy Park, marking the northeastern United States’ first Miyawaki forest—a unique approach to woodland creation that enhances biodiversity and climate resilience. The 4,000-square-foot circular microforest is a collaboration between Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, the SUGi Project, and the city of Cambridge. According to city arborist David Lefcourt, Miyawaki forests are a game-changer for urban environments, offering benefits that range from cooling urban heat islands to carbon sequestration. Maya Dutta, the project manager from Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, says the initiative took shape in early 2021 after the organization learned about the profound benefits of the Miyawaki method.

Harvard Crimson feature 1 year after Danehy park planting

Amid Mounting Climate Threats, Danehy Park’s Miyawaki Forest Puts Down Roots

On a tranquil late-September afternoon in Danehy Park, Maya Dutta tends to a patch of burgeoning growth—a 4,300-square-foot Miyawaki forest that’s about to celebrate its first birthday. Amidst joggers, dog walkers, and residents from the diverse neighborhoods that surround the park, Dutta—5-foot-2 and full of enthusiasm—oversees this ecological marvel. She serves as the project manager for the forest, a collaborative initiative between Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, the city of Cambridge, and the Swiss-based SUGi Project. Yet, this lush pocket of green has deeper roots in history. Once the site of claypits and later an industrial landfill, Danehy Park itself is a testament to urban renewal, transforming over decades into Cambridge’s largest public park. This Miyawaki forest is the latest chapter in the park’s storied history, symbolizing a burgeoning commitment to biodiversity and climate resilience.

Our Partner Organizations

Afforestt Miyawaki Planting Organization
SUGi global Miyawaki Organization
Natural Urban Forests Miyawaki Planters