With this method, the forest grows 10 times faster and 30 times denser with better carbon-dioxide absorption and better noise dust reduction.
For environmental consultant Pradeep Tripathi, creating a green cover is purely a work of passion. Over the last decade, he has created numerous green belts in the city while simultaneously working towards #10CroreTREESby2025 across India. And, now, Pradeep, founder of NGO Green Yatra, has embarked upon another greener journey — to create Mumbai’s first urban dense forest.
The environmentalist is growing this forest with the help of an innovative plantation method invented by Japanese botanist and plant ecology expert Dr Akira Miyawaki. “It is like a vegetative method. Under the conventional method of the plantation, in one acre of land, you can plant 600-800 trees. With this technique, we can plant 12,000 trees in the same size of land,” says Pradeep.
The Miyawaki method is a unique ‘Potential Natural Vegetation’ concept, which works irrespective of soil and climatic conditions. More than 3,000 forests have been successfully created worldwide using this methodology. The process starts with testing the nature of the soil using approved equipments followed by excavation of soil up to three feet.
However, the one kilometre stretch at the Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd (CRWC) in Jogeshwari came with its own challenges.
“Under this technique, you dig a three feet deep trench for plantation. But at this particular site, we dug a trench of up to five feet, as there was no mud but debris. We removed that five feet of debris and poured 1000 tone of soil from outside,” recalls Pradeep.
The soil is then mixed with composts like husk that works as water perforator for porousness, hay, cocopeat that works as a water retainer and manure. After composts, 3000 saplings of 30 native species were planted in multi-layer format. In traditional planting, while one sapling is planted in about 150 sq feet, under Miyawaki technique 45 saplings can be used.
“In one square meter of land, we have planted three saplings. The first layer is the shrub that will go up to 10 feet. Then sub tree layer that will grow 15-20 feet and lastly the tree layer that will grow up to 30-40 feet. They take different components from the earth and grow faster,” explains Pradeep.
The advantage of this method as environmentalist points out is that the forest grows 10 times faster, 30 times denser with better carbon-dioxide absorption and better noise dust reduction. “When I plant four-six feet of sapling it will take them three-four years to be of 20 feet of height. With this technique two-three feet of sapling will grow to 15-20 feet tall tree in just two years,” he adds.
Further to the process, mulching is done on the field wherein with the support of the bamboo stick land is covered with dry grass. “This will stop the evaporation of the water and maintains humidity for the growth of micro-organisms. Growth effective micro-organisms are used that improves the quality and yields growth of the crop,” lists Pradeep.
With the foundation done, the ecologist waits with batted eyes for these saplings to flourish into a forest. “For now we are using water tankers from outside but have got assurance from CRWC that they will provide us with water. This requires maintenance for the next two years, and nothing after that,” he concludes.