Urban Forests Movement

The Power of Tiny Forests: Urban Green Spaces That Transform Cities

In the face of rapid urbanization and environmental challenges, the importance of green spaces in urban areas has never been more critical. Among these green spaces, the so called Miyawaki Forests, Urban Forests, Mini Forests or Tiny Forests are gaining increasing attention for their potential to transform cities into sustainable, resilient, and healthier environments. These forests not only contribute to environmental conservation and biodiversity enhancement but also significantly improve human well-being.

This movement is a great source of inspiration for the creation of The Biggest Mini Forest project and hopefully this small article will inspire many more people to join this new green revolution.

Understanding Miyawaki Forests

The Miyawaki method, named after its originator, Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, is a unique approach to creating forests that inspired what is nowadays also named as Urban Forests, Mini Forests or Tiny Forests. It involves intense soil restoration and the planting of many native flora close together, with multiple layers implemented — from shrub to canopy — in a dense arrangement[1]. This method results in forests that grow as quickly as 10 times the speed of conventional tree plantations, supporting a rich diversity of birds, animals, and insects[1]. The rapid growth and dense biodiversity achieved through this method have led to its adoption in various parts of the world, from the Netherlands to Cameroon[1].

The Rise of Urban Forests

Urban forests are increasingly being recognized as a solution to many challenges faced by cities, including heat waves, pollution, and lack of biodiversity[2]. These forests not only provide environmental benefits but also offer social value by giving people the opportunity to be involved in nature[2]. Notable examples of successful urban forest projects can be found worldwide, from the ultra-small forests in the Dutch city of Utrecht to the green spaces in Singapore that have seen the return of critically endangered species[2][4].

Tiny Forests Making a Big Impact

Tiny Forests, small-scale forests planted in urban settings, are gaining popularity due to their potential to pack all the benefits of a full forest into a city-friendly size[10]. These forests can attract over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years and can significantly mitigate urban heat stress[10]. Examples of successful Tiny Forest projects include those initiated by Indian eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma that created an organization called Afforestt, whose forests are lush and verdant after just 10 years[10].

Environmental and Health Benefits

These forests offer significant environmental advantages. They help mitigate the effects of pollution, offset greenhouse gas emissions, and regulate temperature[8]. For instance, a single 200 m2 tiny forest can capture 250 kilograms of CO2 per year[10]. These forests also contribute to biodiversity, with higher biodiversity recorded in Miyawaki forests than in neighboring woodland[12]. 

In terms of health benefits, urban green spaces provide spaces for physical activity and allow psychological restoration to take place[8]. They also help reduce stress and improve residents' sense of security[8].

How to Establish Your Own Urban Forest

Creating your own Miyawaki or Tiny Forest project involves several steps. First, select a suitable location and prepare the soil. Then, choose a variety of native plant species to ensure biodiversity. The saplings should be planted close together to replicate the regeneration process that occurs in a natural forest[12]. After planting, regular maintenance is required, especially in the early stages. However, after about three years, the forest becomes self-sustaining[9].

Challenges and Solutions

Creating and maintaining urban forests come with challenges, including difficult growing conditions, exposure to pollutants, high temperatures, extreme drought, and limited space[3]. There may also be insufficient resources for proper care and pressure from development[3]. To overcome these challenges, it's crucial to engage every resident as a potential steward of urban forests and to have the right policies, plans, regulations, and institutional arrangements in place[3][11].


In the midst of urban challenges, the rise of Miyawaki, Tiny, or Mini Forests presents a pragmatic solution that extends beyond their aesthetic appeal. They're dynamic contributors to environmental health, community well-being, and sustainable urban living.

As we dive into the intricacies of urban forests, it becomes clear that their impact goes beyond being a sanctuary for biodiversity and a haven for residents seeking a bit of nature. They emerge as strategic tools for addressing critical urban issues. Miyawaki, Tiny, or Mini Forests are not just about adding greenery; they're about securing our urban future.

In this context, initiatives like The Biggest Mini Forest project come to the forefront. It doesn’t only provide all the benefits of a Miyawaki forest, but it also produces food  in the short, mid, and long term for urban populations, using an accessible model that can be done with little resources.  They can redefine the urban ecosystem by integrating community driven regenerative agriculture into the essence of our cities.

As we wrap up this exploration into the influence of Tiny Forests, let's view it not only as a revelation but as a call to action. These urban forests, coupled with projects like The Biggest Mini Forest, offer a pathway to cities that don't just sustain life but nourish it.

This urban journey has begun, and each contribution, whether through planting a sapling or supporting urban agriculture, propels us toward a future where our cities are resilient, green, and abundant.

Join the movement, cultivate your urban oasis, and witness the transformative power of tiny forests in securing a sustainable and nourishing future for our urban landscapes.

Keywords: Miyawaki Forest, Urban Forest, Tiny Forest, Green Spaces in Cities, Biodiversity in Urban Areas, Sustainable Urban Planning, Environmental Benefits of Urban Forests.


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/24/climate/tiny-forests-climate-miyawaki.html 

[2] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/why-tiny-forests-are-popping-up-in-big-cities 

[3] https://cities4forests.com/resource/urban-forests-for-healthier-cities-policy-planning-regulations-and-institutional-arrangements/what-challenges-do-urban-forests-face/ 

[4] https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/why-we-need-green-spaces-in-cities.html 

[5] https://canadiangeographic.ca/articles/the-many-benefits-of-the-minuscule-but-mighty-miyawaki-forests/ 

[6] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/09/tiny-urban-forests-miyawaki-biodiversity-carbon-capture/ 

[7] https://www.uforest.eu/news/project-updates/urban-forests-between-challenges-and-opportunities/ 

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4556255/ 

[9] https://bharatcares.org/The-Multiple-Benefits-of-the-Miyawaki-Method 

[10] https://imagine5.com/articles/the-tiny-forests-regreening-our-cities/ 

[11] https://environment.yale.edu/news/article/urban-forestry-having-its-moment 

[12] https://www.creatingtomorrowsforests.co.uk/blog/the-miyawaki-method-for-creating-forests 

[13] https://www.urbantinyforest.com 

[14] https://www.clf.org/blog/urban-forests-are-great-for-people-and-the-planet-heres-how-to-help-them-thrive/ 

[15] https://www.crowdforesting.org/benefits-of-a-miyawaki-forest 

[16] https://scrippsnews.com/stories/tiny-forests-greening-america-s-urban-landscapes-one-plot-at-a-time/ 

[17] https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/urban-forests 

[18] https://daily.jstor.org/the-miyawaki-method-a-better-way-to-build-forests/ 

[19] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10230492/ 

[20] https://urbanforestplan.org/key-issues-for-2016-2026/ 

[21] https://www.theunderline.org/2023/08/29/tiny-forests-yield-big-benefits/ 

[22] https://livingarchitecturemonitor.com/news/why-tiny-forests-are-popping-up-in-big-cities 

[23] https://resilience-blog.com/2022/12/27/what-are-the-main-challenges-faced-by-the-urban-forestry-sector-in-europe/ 

[24] https://bio4climate.org/2023/09/01/what-are-these-tiny-forests-big-benefits-anyway/ 

[25] https://resilience-blog.com/2018/10/01/urban-forest-based-solutions-for-resilient-cities/