Miyawaki reforestation method: creating forests in record time

Reforestation is a useful system for there to be more life

Image – Flickr / Prefecture of the Province of Guayas

Every year deforestation, that is, the massive felling of trees, is a problem that is getting worse and worse. Whether it is because you want to turn these lands into farmlands, or in urban areas, these plants and the animals that live in them see how their habitats are being modified by humans at a dizzying rate. To give you an idea, it is estimated that an average of 20 million hectares of forest are lost each year.

For this reason, it is important, if not urgent, to find solutions, since otherwise many species (of animals and plants) will go extinct before we know it. Now, these solutions, these measures, must be really effective. So We are going to tell you about the Miyawaki reforestation method, which has its pros… but also its cons.

What is the Miyawaki reforestation method?

By planting trees together you get them to grow fastBy planting trees together you get them to grow fast

Image – Afforest

It is a method that has been developed by a man named Akira Miyawaki of Japanese origin during the 70s. At that time, he realized that the forests of his country catch fire quickly, and that they also have other weaknesses, such as the weather that They take time to regenerate, which is usually long. To this must be added that loggers prefer to grow fast-growing trees with good wood, plants that also catch fire quickly.

Starting from this, After studying the different species that he could grow in his area, he developed a method to cultivate them and get them to grow 10 times faster than monocultures preferred by the timber industry.

Who is Miyawaki?

miyawaki is a botanist and expert in plant ecology who has planted more than 40 million trees around the worldstudying each region to understand and reduce the environmental impact, and thus be able to create forests. In 2006 he won the Blue Planet Prize, which would become the Nobel Prize for the environment.

Some companies have hired him to create small forests in their factories, such as Toyota.

What is it based on?

In nature, Without any kind of human intervention, a fertile land can become a forest in a maximum time of 1000 years. If humans intervene in this same area, that is, if they are in charge of planting and caring for those trees, that time is reduced to 100 years.

Well, with the Miyawaki method, perfected by Shubhendu (an industrial engineer who met Miyawaki while he was at Toyota), those years are reduced even more: to 10.

What are the steps to follow to have a ‘Miyawaki forest’?

To get a piece of land to become a forest, it is necessary to follow these steps, without skipping a single one:

Soil study

We must know the land we have, its properties, the deficiencies it has. It is where the plants will grow, so if we do not have this information, we will not know which species to plant, or if we have to take some measures to make that land suitable for our project.

Identify indigenous plants

This is another very important thing that we must do. It is not worth putting plants that we like if we do not first find out if they are typical of the area or not. The autochthonous are those who are already prepared to live, and live well, in your region. If exotics are planted, you will always have to take good care of them, just what you should not do in a ‘Miyawaki forest’.

Modify the surface layer of the soil

The goal is to put a good amount of compost of organic origin so that it can serve as food for the plants during the first years. As a fertilizer of this type you can use herbivorous animal manure, compost, green manure, guano, worm humus, …

Plant the plants together

Once the ground is ready, it is time to plant the trees close together. This way, they grow much fasterso the time you have to wait to see a lush forest is shortened.

Water and weed

During the first two years, you will have to water the plants so that they can root well. Also, it is necessary to remove the herbs, since this way there will not be as much competition.

Pros and cons of the Miyawaki method

A young forest has plants in full growthA young forest has plants in full growth

Image – Afforest

Now that we have seen what it is, let’s now talk about its advantages and disadvantages. Because although at first it seems like a very interesting method, when you investigate it thoroughly there are certain details that may not convince you.


  • You manage to reforest a field in a short time. Without a doubt, this is interesting: giving life to an abandoned lot is something that contributes a lot to improving the lives of animals (insects, birds, etc.) that want and / or need a safe habitat in which to live.
  • You do not need complicated careSince when planting native species, you don’t have to worry too much about them. These plants are prepared to withstand the climatic and terrain conditions of your area.
  • Less financial expense. This is linked to the above: a plant that takes care of itself ‘alone’ will not force you to spend money on its maintenance, which means that you can save on fertilizers for example.
  • Chemical phytosanitary products are not used. In the event that the land has to be fertilized, organic fertilizers must be used; and if they are to be treated against pests, home remedies or phytosanitary products authorized for organic farming will be used.
  • It’s nice. A green landscape is more pleasant to see than a desert. In fact, the results are truly amazing. You can see them here!. (Afforestt is an organization in which forests are planted in India, using the Miyawaki method).


  • Competition for space and nutrients can be brutal. This is what makes trees grow so fast. Yes, they grow vertically, and it can be seen as a lush forest, but … their trunks are etiolated, that is, they remain thin.
  • An etiolated tree will fall faster. A strong gust of wind, pests attracted by the growing weakness of the plant. Anything can cause this forest to end its life early.
  • It may be necessary to continue paying … always. Trees, even if they are indigenous, if they are planted in large numbers and closely together, they can begin to have nutritional deficiencies. For example, its leaves could turn yellow and fall due to lack of iron.
  • It is a highly flammable forest that can spread quickly. It is no mystery that when many plants are planted together they have a high risk of burning. And if a fire starts, the fire will pass from one plant to another at high speed, since its next victim will be a few inches from the one that is burning at that moment. For this reason, in a country like Spain, where drought is a serious problem in many points, it would be necessary to think twice about whether it is worth it or not.

And you do you think?

Miyawaki reforestation method: creating forests in record time

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