Miyawaki forests come to Pune

A Japanese foresting technique has inspired the forest department’s Pune division to implement this format in four places under its jurisdiction. Now, the Miyawaki technique to acquire dense afforestation is scheduled to come up at two places in Bhamburda, one in Vadgaon (near Talegaon) and Paud, for which a proposal has been sent and approval is pending, informed assistant conservator of forest (Pune division), Mahesh Bhavsar. “Afforestation will take place over one hectare of forest land at each place that has been identified as a feasible location,” he said, adding that the purpose of their plan is to study how this process works and if it proves useful for forest regeneration. “It has been widely adopted so we decided to check for ourselves if it can create dense forest patches here,” said Bhavsar.

Miyawaki is a famously-adopted afforestation concept developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, involving the dense plantation of trees in a small area. These closely planted trees must be native to the region concerned and complement each other for successful growth and co-existence.

Deputy conservator of forest (Pune division), A Shrilakshmi, elaborated, “The Miyawaki forest does not necessarily benefit larger animals, but can prove useful to several birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. Additional benefits include increasing biodiversity of area and requiring low maintenance. It is said that mounds of soil, biomass and moisture-retaining materials allow roots of plants to penetrate faster and foster quicker growth. Dense forests allow safe place for birds to nest, and other dependent species.”

Forest officials also visited the plant of Larsen and Toubro (Defence) in Talegaon recently to understand Miyawaki foresting. “Native trees were planted here in a 37x15-metre space within the company premises in 2017,” explained Sainath Yadav, assistant general manager at L&T (Defence), Talegaon, adding that these 1,600 trees include species like tamarind, teak, neem and fruit-bearing varieties like jambhul and Indian gooseberry.

Yadav shared that the initiative was taken as an experiment by the company. “The technique was studied via online media and other consultants, and in one year, the trees showed substantial growth of over three metres in height. The forest looked so thick and green that moving around in it became difficult. The plant saplings also complimented each other’s growth,” he said, adding that thanks to this success, peacocks that roamed outside the campus in degraded forest areas now pay them visits.

“They have become regular visitors to our Miyawaki forest in evening time. This is a positive contribution towards the environment. To our surprise, we once spotted hyenas here, too. The dense patch is a visiting spot for birds and insects never seen around before. We have started taking some photographs and documenting these visits now,” said Yadav.

Interestingly, during routine checks, the company also found oxygen levels higher in the area to have risen after the forest was created. Further, taking inspiration, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation at Talegaon had also created a Miyawaki forest in its premises thereafter.

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