Miyawaki Afforestation and Kerala

Kerala, known for her bravery in fighting the worst flood in centuries is all set to take the next leap towards accomplishing the celestial goal of ‘giving birth’ to a ‘New Kerala’, tough enough to withstand all natural calamities by partaking in the global battle against climate change that the world is facing today. Miyawaki Afforestation Model is the most innovative and natural way to accomplish this new goal. Growing a natural forest within a short span of time is the core concept of this method. The Miyawaki forests not only saves trees that ‘disappear’ from their domiciles but also provides shelter for birds and other natural inhabitants which are on the verge of extinction.

What is Miyawaki Afforestation Model?

The whole concept is the research outcome of famous Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert Dr. Akira Miyawaki. He has been the Professor Emeritus at Yokohama National University and Director of the Japanese Center for International Studies in Ecology. It’s been half a century since he started his mission to drape the earth in green silk! It is assessed that more than 5 million tress have been planted in this mission. The main advantage of this method is that a natural forest can be made even within 2 cents of land. This is made possible by planting plants that are naturally grown in the area proposed according to their climatic conditions and soil compositions.

The very first step is to prepare the soil of the proposed area with added organic compositions to enhance the growth rate. A wide variety of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, tree climbers and creepers are to be chosen while planting. Initially these are planted on to a pot and when it reaches the growth of about three months, they are taken and re-planted on to the prepared soil. These plants grow into thick, dense forest growing to more than 10 feet height. They grow further to more than 30 feet high in the course of three years and no further care is required after three years. Consequently, dense forest of 100-150 years of growth can be achieved in just ten years and this is what makes the Miyawaki method unique and one of its kind.

Has the Miyawaki method been implemented successfully in Kerala?

Kerala is blessed to have a year old Miyawaki forest on the city outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram called as Puliyarakonam. The forest which was initiated by Invis Multimedia on January 31st 2018 has a total area of 1300 square feet. This forest consists of more than 420 plants which come in 30 different species. Most of the plants have now acquired 15 to 18 feet height. Many a variety of trees including Neermaruthu, Neermathalam, Thanni, Kadukka, Nelli, Charu, Peelivaka, Athi, Ethi, Arayal, Peraal, Karinaanku, Vayyazhanta competitively grows here!

Similarly, another Miyawaki forest was implemented in the heart of the city of Thiruvananthapuram called Kanakakunnu by the Department of Tourism along with Nature’s Green Guardian Foundation, an NGO founded by Prof. V.K Damodaran. As part of corporate social responsibility, Invis Multimedia, Culture Shoppe and Organic Kerala Mission together sponsored the project. Apart from sponsoring, the employees of these organizations were also actively involved in selecting; planting and growing the forests as a service and they are also giving proper care till the forest achieve three years of growth.

Besides the above mentioned, Invis has also successfully grown two similar forests in the state. One among them is at Peyad in Thiruvananthapuram which is a marshy area and the other is at the hilly areas of Munnar. An eight hundred square feet area was taken for Afforestation in December 2018 from the land at Peyad which is owned by an Invisian. Similarly, Afforestation was carried out in 5 cents of land in the cardamom estate of Culture shoppe at shantan para, Munnar on 26th December 2018. This consisted of 800 verities of plants.

What is the total cost for Miyawaki Afforestation project?

Miyawaki Afforestation in one cent land comes to Rs.1.5 Lakh approximately. To be more specific, Rs.350/- per square feet. In this era of global warming, these micro forests extensively help to reduce harmful effects of rising temperature and improve the inflow of oxygen. Hence, taken the advantages, the project is much profitable. The micro forests enhances the water content in the soil and also gives out cooling effect replacing the use of air conditioners.

Miyawaki Afforestation- Recurring Costs

The forests grown in this method demands continuous care and this is required during the first three years of their growth. For this, the approximate cost will be Rs.150/- per square feet.

Is a cost reduction possible?

Many people has been asking whether it is possible to reduce the cost to a at least to a certain extent. However, practically it is impossible. Why because, cost reduction can be done only by reducing the normal amount of cow dung fertilizers and coir pith compost, reducing the number and varieties of plants and less attentive in soil preparation, water movement & removal of weeds etc. All these will adversely affect the growth and quality of the plants.

What are the challenges involved?

The main challenge faced is the unavailability of naturally growing plants of the area. In order to grow Miyawaki forest on an acre of land, at least 12000-16000 plants of different species are needed. Setting up of nurseries for selling naturally growing plants, providing awareness and training to people for implementing Miyawaki forest are the solutions for the challenges.

Promotion and Replicability of the Miyawaki Afforestation Method

Anyone who has basic knowledge in agriculture can recreate Miyawaki Afforestation model. Afforestation enthusiasts can be given training even during implementation process. Moreover, with the use of digital technology the mechanism and its benefits can be shared with a wider set of audience.

Developing Miyawaki Afforestation as a multidisciplinary project with participation of various faculties.

Forestation using Miyawaki method and its caretaking should be received as a multidisciplinary project and executed with participation of various faculties. Here all the members of different faculties such as forest-water conservation, soil conservation, agriculture, animal husbandry, climate change organization, environment enthusiasts has to join their hands together for implementing successful Miyawaki Afforestation.

Involvement of Non Governmental Organization

The Miyawaki Afforestation project is being implemented by Natures Green Guardian foundation, an NGO. This organization which was founded by the famous scientist and social worker Prof. V.K Damodaran has experience of several years in the field. Social workers of the organization have been on research on Miyawaki Afforestation method since the last three years and they have already implemented the same in couple of places in the city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Public Participation and Empowerment

Through the implementation of Miyawaki Afforestation method, local workers especially women force can be given employment training and opportunities. Subsequently, this technology can be promoted to more people and more Afforestation projects can be implemented at different places. Caretaking works too can be given to the local work force, such that it will instill in them a feel of responsibility and therefore enhance the growth for a successful forest cover.