National Mini Forest Pilot
Green Communities Canada’s National Mini Forest Pilot addresses the growing need for green spaces in urban environments, transforming identified sites in partnership with local organizations and municipalities using an innovative tree-planting method, modelled after the Miyawaki forest technique
We provide partners with the skills, knowledge, and tools to plant mini forests, which grow at accelerated rates into dense, diverse, native-planted forest communities that provide many benefits to urban environments.
This program — led by Green Communities Canada in collaboration with Dougan & Associates and Canadian Geographic, through the Network of Nature — aims to contribute to Canada’s goal to plant 2 Billion Trees by 2030 to address climate change and biodiversity loss.
What are Mini Forests and why are they important?
A mini forest — also known as a micro forest or tiny forest — is a community of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together in an urban or suburban site based on the Miyawaki method. The method emphasizes the use of dense plantings, diverse locally-native species collections, soil preparation, and multilayered design to mimic the complexity of a native forest. This dense planting technique results in taller plants in a shorter time period.
Mini forests provide a variety of ecosystem services that offer both environmental and social benefits. From reducing air pollution to increasing biodiversity, and providing necessary habitat for wildlife, these small plots can have a big impact on their local environments. They provide much-needed green spaces for people to enjoy, offering mental health benefits and improving air quality. Mini forests also help reduce runoff, prevent flooding and mitigate the urban heat island effect.
In 2023, a minimum of 2,800 trees will be planted in five pilot communities. Through our scale up, we aim to plant a minimum of 10,000 trees in 2024.
Green Communities Canada is actively seeking partners to join us to help establish mini forests in communities across the country, and be part of our application to the Urban Tree Planting stream of the 2 Billion Trees program for 2024. Prospective partners can fill out this survey, or reach out to our Green Infrastructure Manager, Emily Amon, for more information about partnership opportunities.
The 2022-2023 pilot of the Mini Forest program is supported by the Government of Canada, through the 2 Billion Trees program, and the Greenbelt Foundation.
A spring 2023 intake of the program will be supported by our new Living Cities Fund which will help community-based organizations grow support for green infrastructure and engage citizens in the planning, design, and implementation of local action projects such as mini forests.