Our partner Earthwatch Europe is seeking expressions of interest from healthcare sites who would like to establish a Tiny Forest on or near their grounds.
What is a Tiny Forest?
A Tiny Forest is a dense, fast-growing native woodland, the size of a tennis court. It is based on an established forest management method developing in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki. Tiny Forest brings the benefits of a forest – connecting people with nature, raising awareness of the environment, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as supporting urban wildlife – right into the heart of our cities and urban spaces.
600 native trees will be planted in this compact space, which can include a range of features including paths and rest areas. It can be a great spot to watch wildlife as a Tiny Forest is capable of attracting over 500 animal and plant species within just three years, including ground-living invertebrates, butterflies, and other pollinators.
Growing a Tiny Forest on your healthcare site supports the NHS ambition to reach Net Zero. Since 2009, the NHS Forest has planted over 96,000 trees across 290 NHS sites, in the form of hedgerows, orchards, memorial trees, restored woodlands and more. Tiny Forest is a way to add a large number of trees to your site – supporting biodiversity, improving air quality, boosting wellbeing, and storing carbon.
Tiny Forest on NHS sites
The first Tiny Forest on an NHS Forest site was planted at West Berkshire Community Hospital in November 2021. Paul Harrison, Sustainability Manager at Berkshire Healthcare said about their Tiny Forest:
You can watch the Tiny Forest planting day video here.
In February 2021 another Tiny Forest was planted at Littlemore Mental Health Centre in Oxford. Read more about their Tiny Forest here, and watch the video from their planting day.
Dr Nick Broughton, Chief Executive Oxford Health, said:
At these sites, Earthwatch hosts science days to monitor the Tiny Forest. The science day at the Littlemore Tiny Forest will take place on 18 July 2022. Service users from the mental health centre and pupils with special educational needs from the neighbouring Warneford Hospital School will help monitor the progress of their Tiny Forest and the increase in biodiversity it attracts.
Request your own Tiny Forest
NHS Forest sites that would like to plant their own Tiny Forest are invited to register their interest. Earthwatch can provide full support during the process, including site assessments and matching sites with funding. The ideal sites will:
- Be free from utilities or services above and below ground
- Not be identified for any redevelopment for at least ten years
- Have a social benefit, whether that is for patients, staff and visitors, or through being accessible to the general public or local schools
- Be connected to a local organisation or community group that can help look after the Tiny Forest and monitor its impact.
As well as planting the trees, Earthwatch works with local stakeholders to establish a Tree Keeper Team who can help to look after the forest. The team also collects data to support national research on how this approach to tree planting can help biodiversity, carbon capture, water retention, ambient temperature and thermal comfort, in the face of a changing climate.
If you would like further information on Tiny Forest, or to register interest in establishing one on your healthcare site, please contact Ben Williams: firstname.lastname@example.org
Banner photo: Tiny Forest planting day at Littlemore Mental Health Centre. Earthwatch Europe, all rights reserved