Hello 13! Miyawaki Richmond Cheerleaders,
This past month, I spent a LOT of time researching how to restore bogs the New Brunswick way (pdf resource from KPU's Mike Bomford) and the BC way (2 day workshop put on by BC Federation of Wildlife). In my mind, although the GCL bog is not and should not become a Miyawaki Forest, by default (left alone with its currently inadequate hydration), it could quickly become a wild forest like the DND lands across the street and the RNP (Richmond Nature Park). The techniques involved in preserving bogs are similar in philosophy to the Miyawaki Method. So, bottom line: I now assume that you all agree that these monthly reports can include stuff about rewilding and re-invigorating bogs (as large as the GCL bog, and as small as 1 meter by meter wetlands in our backyards maybe adjacent to our upcoming schools' native pocket forests. If you disagree, let me know, and I will create a new mailing list just for bog (and wetlands generally) restoration. Otherwise you can expect a summary of my findings on bog restoration in the next Miyawaki newsletters.
Meanwhile, this month, we (GCCS) met with Jay (Vancouver Artist doing relevant projects in Cook Elementary and Richmond Senior Secondary) and have started the gears rolling on what could become Richmond and Canada's first real MIyawaki Forest at Cook Elementary and a couple more pocket forests at Richmond Secondary. Browse the Cook Whimsical Garden
for a taste of Jay's work... and if you have a moment do visit the Cook Elementary and RSS sites!
Below is a short writeup in that regard: (it includes a bit more detail on Miyawaki budgeting, and some Richmond context notes)
With constant gratefulness for the various forms of encouragement I get from y'all,Cheers,Bruno
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If you go to the Railway Greenway or the back of Richmond Secondary School, you will see the start of native forests growing in small patches. These I call "Pocket Forests". The City of Richmond thinks they are cool and I agree with them; I even made one myself (for free using donated plants) on the corner of Minler and Francis Rd. They are not expensive (no excavation needed) and are filled with native plant species that are bound to attract more biodiversity over time.
If you are into Permaculture, you will have heard of the "Food Forest" concept. That too is excellent, especially for food security. What follows is another permaculture technique which seems to me to be the best method for Urban Micro-Forests that really maximize local biodiversity growth:
Akira Miyawaki came up with a method (widely applied in Japan and now all over the world) which,greatly speeds up the process of getting to a mature wilderness micro-forest, full of biodiversity: at best 15 years to maturity and 100x more biodiversity (of course such claims are not really verifiable at this time, but anecdotally they impress me enough that I spent a lot of time getting trained in the method from those who pioneered Miyawaki in the Netherlands, France and India) so I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. As far as I know, no one else has done this in Canada yet.
The short version is: For a proper Miyawaki Forest, we need
a minimum 100 meters square of land (equivalent to 9 parking spots) which needs to be
excavated 1 meter deep to mix in locally available organic materials (such as compost made from collected Green Waste in Richmond) ,
then in late Fall or Winter (preferably Nov-Dec), we must plant at least 3-4 plants per m² (which denser than any other method);
so we aim for 400 native saplings belonging to 30 distinct species of trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial ground cover ... from these nurseries (ordered well in advance)
Plan Bee Native Plants,
City of Richmond nurseries,
Nat's Nursery and
volunteer backyard amateurs nurseries (for some native species, hundreds of saplings can be grown in tiny spaces in sandy raised beds)
straw mulch deeply, water and stake trees for the first 3 years, and optionally fence in for the first 3 years. After that it takes care of itself except for fixing usual urban abuse
the density forces the plants to compete intensely (growing up much faster) which they can sustain because of the depth of nutrients (average 1 meter growth per year)
read tons more details which I prepared for the Richmond context. I also have some of my unpublished notes available on request.
include walkways and possibly benches, outdoor classroom furniture... preferably over the buried city utilities so the City can easily dig it up (check city GIS)
must have committed stakeholders for planting and maintaining over the years (best success with local school communities)
idea from India: make Miyawaki Forests Sacred by allowing people to buy plaques for their loved ones like for the benches
Based on information collected from projects in other countries, I calculate roughly $6000 per 100 meters sq:
planting and maintenance labour is assumed to be donated by stakeholders (priceless)
excavation: rental + transport in trailer and skilled operator for one day of digging ($1000 value perhaps donated by CoR or SD38?)
pre-order 400 saplings across at least 3+ nurseries for timely delivery just prior to planting day ($4000 value based on average $10 per sapling wholesale)
signage, fencing, irrigation costs ($1000 value)
Tentative Working Native Species List:
Western Red Cedar
Big Leaf Maple
Wetern Tea Berry
Jewelweed - Common Touch-me-not
Linden / Lime / Basswood
Red Flowering Currant
Purple Tree Collard
Indian Plun - Osoberry
I live on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of the people belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ ) language group