The City of Markham is about to get a little bit greener thanks to the National Mini Forest Pilot Program.
Green Communities Canada (GCC) is leading the program in collaboration with Dougan & Associates, Canadian Geographic and Wilder Climate Solutions through the Network of Nature. The program addresses the urgent need for green spaces in urban environments by transforming sites into diverse fast-growing forests.
Mini forests are communities of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together in a technique modelled after the Miyawaki Forest method. That planting strategy emphasizes dense plantings, diverse native species, rich soil preparation and multilayered design to mimic the complexity of a mature native forest.
“This creates fast-growing tree stands with a similar structure and function of a mature forest, even in small urban plots,” GCC Green Infrastructure Manager Emily Amon.
Mini forests provide environmental and social benefits, such as sequestering carbon, increasing biodiversity and providing necessary habitat for wildlife. They will contribute to Canada’s goal to plant two billion trees by 2030 and are “great tools” to address climate change and biodiversity loss, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society reports.
The pilot program is funded through the federal government’s Two Billion Trees program, TD Bank Group and the Greenbelt Foundation and will enable GCC and partners to plant at least 2,800 trees in five cities this year, including Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph and Richmond, B.C. A local partner organization that builds the grassroots support to ensure the forests thrive will coordinate each planting event.