Miyawaki Woodland Tree Planting

An exciting volunteer opportunity has arisen and we would love for you to be involved. Details below:

Miyawaki Woodland Tree Planting at Mill Lane Play Area Project

Approximate Dates for Planting 15th – 17th February 2024

Up Holland Parish Council is seeking volunteers to assist with tree planting and would particularly like community groups and schools to be involved.

The project is being organised by Ian Wright, of Lancashire County Council’s Treescapes Team.

As with all outdoor projects, the dates are weather dependant so will need to be confirmed closer to the time. 

The work involved is limited to tree planting as directed by the Group Leader, and does not involve the use of power tools.  All preparatory work will be done by contractors, the week before.  Contractors’ availability may also affect the date chosen for planting.  The site is set into the parkland at Mill Lane Play Area, far enough away from Mill Lane that it should not require traffic management.  Volunteers need to be aged eighteen or over for insurance purposes but children who are under adult supervision can also take part.  A full risk assessment will be undertaken on the day, though a draft will be available before the event.  Those volunteering under Duke of Edinburgh or similar schemes will be provided with documentary evidence of their participation.

If you wish to participate, please send an email to clerk@uphollandpc.gov.uk indicating how many volunteers (and ages, if under 18) and I will keep you in-the-loop.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Elizabeth-Anne Broad JP, LLB(Hons), MA, CiLCA
Clerk to Up Holland Parish Council

What is a Miyawaki Woodland?

It is a tiny woodland, occupying an area about the size of a tennis court; approximately 200 square metres.  The Miyawaki method is an afforestation technique for cultivating fast-growing groves of native plants, with the dense, mixed planting intended to simulate the layers of a natural forest.  Originally developed by Japanese ecologist Akira Miyawaki in the early 1970s for Nippon Steel, to offset effects of steel production on climate change.

How is it different?

  1. Unlike conventional tree planting projects, Miyawaki woodlands are planted up at super high density.  The plot of land on the sloping corner of Mill Lane playing field will be planted with approximately 850 very young trees, known as whips. 
  2. To enable the trees to become established quickly, the ground will be specially prepared ahead of planting.  The soil will be cultivated to a depth of about 1m and combined with an organic growing medium.  The soil preparation creates perfect growing conditions for young trees – warm, well drained, aerated soil which is rich in nutrients and full of fungi.  Growing in these conditions allows the young trees to concentrate more of their energies on vertical growth and less on simply staying alive in a stressed environment.  The result is a low failure rate, rapid growth, and healthier trees.
  3. Planting at high density reduces the risk of failure and greatly increases the chances of survival.  It also makes the trees more resilient to drought and other shocks.
  4. Micro forests need significantly less intervention than more conventional tree planting styles. owing to natural processes, which this method encourages.

Why here?

  1. Lancashire needs more trees; coverage is just 6% across the county (half that of the national average).  Just one site has been planted in Lancashire to date. Trees planted in in this first site as 60cm whips, in February 2022 are now just under 2m tall.
  2. Creating woodland here will reduce drainage problems and improve air quality.
  3. The fall of the land means and choice of tree species will mean that it has limited impact on neighbouring properties.
  4. The fall of the land will enhance the visual impact of the woodland.

Ecological benefits

Woodlands, even tiny ones, can support huge numbers of insects, including those that pollinate our food crops and fruit trees.  The unique characteristics of micro woodlands enable them to support as much wildlife as a much bigger area that is managed conventionally.  The heart of the woodland, although very close to people, is sheltered enough to support birds and other animals that would otherwise be absent, as they are so sensitive to disturbance.

Several species of songbirds choose to nest in dense stands of young trees.  This is habitat that usually only exists in more extensive woodlands and forests.  Birds cannot nest in the types of tree planting schemes that usually occur on amenity green spaces.

Micro woodlands can support an abundance and diversity of wildlife that is more usually associated with much more extensive habitats on large nature reserves.  They are unique in being able to support such an abundance and diversity of wildlife on small sites where these habitats would otherwise be absent.

We need volunteers – please consider signing up to help with tree planting. Email: clerk@uphollandpc.gov.uk to register your interest.