Some people might be happy with successfully fertilising a flowerbed, or keeping a hedgerow healthy, but soon budding botanists in Wales will have the opportunity to get their green fingers stuck into a more ambitious project: growing their own forest.
Implemented to contribute towards the National Forest for Wales, a long-term ambition to create one unbroken stretch of woodland across Wales, the new Coetiroedd Bach (Tiny Forests) scheme will see individuals and communities being offered grants to grow small-scale forests on land in Welsh towns and villages.
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government, the project will aim to create numerous forests that are around the size of a standard tennis court (200 sq metres), consisting of fast-growing native woodland trees that are densely packed together.
The concept for tiny forests was developed by Dr Akira Miyawaki, a renowned Japanese biologist and expert in plant ecology, and is based around the practice of using a variety – often up to 25 species – of native trees to generate authentic, resilient pockets of woodland.
These types of forest do not rely on fertilisers, require minimal management after the first two years and, despite their diminutive size, are capable of attracting over 500 animals and plant species. Additionally, the small scale of the forest means they can exist close to urban areas, creating accessible green spaces for adults and children to reconnect with nature.
The scheme will be offering grants of between £10,000 and £40,000 per site for individuals, community groups or businesses who would like to create an eco-rich space on their doorstep – improving access to nature for locals and visitors alike, and ultimately aiding in the long-term vision of making Wales a greener nation. Applications to the scheme can be made via The National Lottery Heritage Fund website.
Read more about local people working to preserve Welsh landscapes.