Thursday, March 4, 2021

Capital’s first-ever ‘Miyawaki forest’ inaugurated by PM Khan

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Speaking at the launch of the tree plantation drive in Islamabad which is a part of the government’s countrywide 5-year ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ campaign, the premier reiterated his vow of restoring the forests in Pakistan through the plantation of 10 billion trees before the completion of his term. PM Khan kicked off the Spring Tree Plantation Campaign 2021 in the capital by planting a sapling and inaugurating the city’s first-ever Miyawaki forest.

Miyawaki is a unique technique introduced by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense urban forests. In this method, different native species of plants are planted close to each other which lets the greens receive sunlight only from the top and makes them grow upwards rather than sideways. This leads to the plantation becoming approximately 30 times denser. This technique makes the trees grow 10 times faster when compared to monoculture plantations and also guarantees growth of at least 1 meter every year, in tree height. The forest needs to be watered and weeded for the first two or three years, after which it becomes self-sustaining.

Read More: Pakistan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project praised in the UK parliament

During the past decades, big cities like Lahore and Peshawar that were once known as “garden cities” had turned into “concrete, cement jungles” because of “merciless” deforestation, said PM Khan. Shedding light on the disastrous consequences of deforestation, he said that deforestation not only results in an increase in pollution but also has harmful effects for children and the elderly.

The prime minister said that sites have been selected by the government in Lahore and Islamabad where trees would be planted on the Miyawaki model.

Miyawaki forests have the ability to grow into mature ecosystems in just 20 years which is extremely fast when compared to the 200 years it can take a forest to regenerate on its own.

“Pakistan is among the countries most affected by climate change’’, said PM Khan. “We need to protect it through the plantation of trees across the country,” he added.

The prime minister urged the students to take part in the tree plantation campaign. “Growing trees is not just a hobby for us, it is our need”, remarked the PM. He also told the students attending the event to protect the trees once they have been planted.

Miyawaki Model- A success in Lahore

PM Khan on Saturday announced that he had launched urban forestry based on the Miyawaki technique used in Japan.

“I have launched urban forestry on the lines of Miyawaki technique in Japan where the trees grow 10 times faster and 30 times denser and is the best way to fight pollution,” the premier tweeted.

The first-ever experiment was carried out last year in Liberty Roundabout, Lahore, said the PM. To prove the effectiveness of the technique, he also shared an image of the same spot from last year and this year.

50 sites have been identified in Lahore for the campaign, tweeted the PM, a day after launching a countrywide spring tree plantation drive in the Miyawaki Urban Forest at Jilani Park in Lahore.

Read More: Landmark UN report calls for fixing forests and food production to deal with climate change

“The forest cover of Lahore has been reduced by 70 per cent in the last 12-13 years,” stated the premier, because of which Lahore now faced the issue of smog particularly during the month of February. “If this kind of consistent smog remains, it reduces the [average] lifespan by 6-11 years.”

The particular advantage of the Miyawaki project was in the speed at which forests could be grown — 10-20 years instead of 50 years, said the prime minister.

The Miyawaki technique is alternatively known as the potted seedling method. Akira Miyawaki who invented this technique is now 93 years old and has planted around 40 million trees all over the world. In, 2006, he won the Blue Planet Prize, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the environmental field.

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