Mini forests

Mini forests, also called Miyawaki forests, are created using a planting technique that quickly establishes an entire forest ecosystem that’s about the size of a tennis court. It’s particularly suited to urban or semi-urban settings where there’s a lack of space for larger woodlands and the soil is often degraded. The mini forests can help restore the soil biome and improve soil carbon sequestration.

With the Miyawaki method, trees grow up to ten times faster. As they are planted close together this allows the plant community to support itself, as well as being more resilient to disease, drought and climate change impacts.

Bed of newly planted trees

Planting a Miyawaki forest in your local area

We want to support the creation of these fantastic fast-growing ecosystems across Hampshire. To support community groups, schools, businesses and organisations as they create mini forests, we have launched the Community Mini Forest project.

Check if you're eligible

Essential criteria

  • Needs to be in Hampshire County Council local authority area
  • Needs to be located in an urban or semi-urban area. i.e. town, village setting or an area that can be proved to have a social benefit and provide ecosystem services. A school grounds is also suitable
  • Needs to cover an area no less than approximately 200m2 (or roughly the size of a tennis court 11m x 24m) for the actual Miyawaki Forest. This area can be of any shape/orientation, but the forest must not be narrower than 4m across at any given point. Paths can also be created through the forest, or an inner glade area
  • Needs to be accessible for large machinery: mini digger needed for soil preparation, plus truck delivery of mulch and other soil supplement
  • No underground infrastructure: soil needs to be excavated to 1m depth
  • Need to ensure that no water pipes or gas mains etc. are near to the planting area
  • No overhead infrastructure: trees will grow to 20m+. Needs to be away from overhead power cables, phone lines or large trees (however, trees on the edge of the site can be incorporated into the design
  • Proof of land ownership or permission of the landowner to plant the Forest

Desirable criteria

  • Possible water access point: trees may need watering during first 2 years of establishment, so either a water access point located nearby, or access for a vehicle and water bowser to the site
  • Need a site that is not causing obstruction to people’s right of way (the forest becomes very dense and impassable unless a specific pathway is incorporated into the design)
  • Site should not be designated as sensitive in any way: SSSI, SINC, Ramsar etc.
  • Site should be on an open area (we don’t want trees to be removed to plant new ones!), some scrub or low vegetation is fine, as are trees on the edge of the proposed site

Terms and conditions

We are initially looking to support 6 Miyawaki Forests as the first pilot projects.  We hope to then open the scheme out to further applications subsequently.  Applications will be judged by their ability to meet the criteria, and the Council's decision is final. The Council reserves the right to cancel any proposed project if it is felt the group or site cannot meet the criteria set.

Sponsor a mini forest

If you are a business, group or individual and would like to sponsor a Miyawaki Forest creation project, please get in touch. If suitable sites are identified, you can sponsor a local Miyawaki forest. A commemorative plaque will be created, or your logo will be added to our interpretation panel to highlight your support. Your organisation will also be added to our list of funding partners.

Email [email protected] for further information.