First Miyawaki Forest planted in the Algarve

More than 260 plants of 17 native Algarve species will be planted to restore autochthonous vegetation.

The first Miyawaki forest will be planted in the Algarve on Saturday, March 25. This type of forest is characterised by only planting species native to the region it is being created in.

More than 260 plants of 17 native Algarve species will be planted in a 100 m2 area in Mesquita, in the Parish of Algoz. The initiative will start at 10:00 and be carried out by the Floresta Nativa project with a group of volunteers.

The Floresta Nativa project was created by a biologist determined to contribute towards changing the course of degradation of “our home” – planet Earth – and the recovery of native national forests.

Initiated in October 2022, the project is defined by various challenges, such as restoring biodiversity through sustainable reforestation and restoring destroyed native forests. The project also aims to raise awareness of a revolutionary method for planting a native forest, showing outstanding results. A method which, with the proper adaptations, will be within everyone’s reach.

Sónia Soares, a biologist with a master’s degree in ecology and environmental management and a nature lover, is the face of the project and is in charge of organising the plantation of the first Miyawaki forest in the Algarve.

Sónia Soares

The Miyawaki method dates back to the 1970s when Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki discovered that only 0.06% of his country’s forests were native. Faced with this reality, with the knowledge he acquired over years of study, Miyawaki developed a method to restore native vegetation in degraded or destroyed areas.

Inspired by natural ecosystems, Miyawaki’s afforestation method creates pioneer forests. They are 100% organic, grow ten times faster, are 30 times denser, and contain 100 times more biodiversity. They are quick to establish and maintenance-free after the first two to three years. Proven in Japan and worldwide, this method has a 97% success rate for tree survival, even in test environments.

The methodology developed by the Japanese botanist reproduces the way a forest would naturally progress if only native plant species of natural occurrence were planted in an area, without human intervention, given the specific climatic condition and location.

Miyawaki’s afforestation principles are based on understanding how species interact in a natural forest and planting diverse trees close together to maximise density and establish balance.

By planting a wide variety of native trees close to each other, we increase plant biodiversity, thus increasing animal species as the forest grows. These forests are not an option to natural forests but a means of reforesting destroyed habitats and improving ecologically degraded environments.