Learn About Microforests

What is a Microforest?

A microforest is a small area of land that is returned to a natural state through the planting of native trees and shrubs. Microforests are planted on non-developable land and can be as small as a city residential building lot (500 square feet). A microforest is a great way to naturalize a small piece of land in urban areas and has many ecological and social benefits. 

Another popular method globally is known as the Miyawaki method, named after the Blue Planet Award-winning Japanese botanist, Akira Miyawaki. It’s a method for afforestation (creating a new forest) in dense urban areas, using many different native tree and shrub species to create a naturalized area. Miyawaki has planted over 40 million trees in 15 countries around the world, and we’re delighted to bring his concept of small “forests of life” to Waterloo Region.

Benefits of a Microforest

Ecological value of trees

  • Release oxygen through photosynthesis
  •  Provide moisture and help local and regional climates to cool
  • Trees also store water (hydrological cycle)
  • Improve soil conditions so other plants can grow well around them
  • Store and cycle nutrients to keep an ecosystem healthy
  • Provide habitat for small creatures and insects
  • Contribute to increased biodiversity
  • Capture carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change

Social and economic benefits

  • Trees act as noise buffering in our neighbourhoods
  • Provide cooling, shade and wind-reducing effects
  • Remove air pollutants so we live healthier
  • Improve community and neighbourhood aesthetics
  • Enhance psychological well being
  • Improve flood areas and reduce effects of stormwater runoff
  • They’re also great places for learning and provide educational opportunities for students young and old!

Trees and Climate Change 

Trees provide benefits for both climate change mitigation and adaptation to the effects of climate change. Mitigation is the removal or prevention of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Adaptation is the changes to behaviour, systems or features that help us to live with the effects of climate change. 

  • Mitigation: Depending on their age, trees can either capture or store carbon. Younger trees capture carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, while older trees store it. Thanks guys!
  • Adaptation: Trees provide necessary shade, as well as surface and air temperature cooling effects, to cope with increasingly hot and dry summers brought about by climate change. These benefits are most keenly felt in dense urban areas, where more frequent and intense flooding can cause erosion and concrete can trap heat.

Land Acknowledgement

The land on which we plant is on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee people, and we are situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations territory. As part of reconciliation, we recognize the Indigenous people who continue to live here, care for, and remain interconnected with this land. The basis of the Haudenosaunee culture is the connection and care for the land for the future of our children. The work done through the microforest project is to care for, and preserve the land for a prosperous future together. We honour the wisdom brought by these people’s and strive to braid it into the work and projects we do every day.