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Cranfield University joins with Bedford Borough Council to plant new Miyawaki forest

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 25 Jan 2023

More than 3,000 trees have been planted in Bedford as part of a Miyawaki forest project involving Cranfield University. 

Bedford had its first Miyawaki trees placed in the ground on Saturday (21) – through a partnership between Bedford Borough Council, Cranfield University, the Forest of Marston Vale, and Bedford Rotary Club. The project is part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ funded Trees for Climate initiative.

The name of the method comes from the Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki, and involves careful soil preparation prior to planting dense biodiverse native woodland plants closely together. This allows the plants to grow quickly and create a healthy ecosystem. 

In addition to supporting wildlife, Miyawaki forests absorb more carbon than conventional woodland schemes because they grow more quickly. 

Cranfield University’s Jim Harris, Professor of Environmental Technology, was at Saturday’s planting at Longholme Way in Bedford. He said: “Miyawaki Forests are planted in areas usually no larger than a tennis court, with planting carried out at a much higher density than would traditionally be the case, resulting in increased rates at which carbon is captured both above and below the ground.

“We are supporting Bedford Borough Council by helping to plant the trees, and then monitor and research the development of them through student projects and other research programmes.” 

Around 20 different species of trees were planted including field maple, oak, osier, guilder rose, birch, bird cherry and alder.  

Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment at Bedford Borough Council, said: "The Miyawaki planting project is a fantastic initiative that brings together the community to make a real difference to our environment. 

“Together, we can create a greener, healthier community for all to enjoy." 
For more information on Cranfield University’s MSc in Sustainability, please visit the relevant page on our website.

Topics: cranfield university, Bedford Borough Council

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