fb-trackingSkip to main content

Largest Miyawaki forest in Europe planted by volunteers at borough’s ‘Forest of Thanks’ for NHS and keyworkers

Forest of thanks planting sessionTags Adults , Business , Children , Council , Family , Residents , Teenagers

Over the course of two days (19 and 26 February), volunteers planted trees at Barking and Dagenham’s ‘Forest of Thanks’, to recognise the incredible work local NHS staff and keyworkers have done and continue to do during the pandemic.
The council partnered with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) who work across the UK to create healthier and happier communities, SUGi Projects, an international organisation specialising in urban rewilding and the Natwest Group who kindly donated all the trees for planting. 
Planting, led by the council’s Ranger services started back in November 2020 followed by opportunities for residents to help further with the planting, when it was safe to do so.

The project included planting 28,000 native trees and shrubs, with an additional 8,000 trees planted by volunteers, following a new planting method called Miyawaki, which establishes a forest up to 30 times more dense than conventional tree planting. It also grows 10 times faster than regular forests and is a chemical and fertiliser free forest that sustains itself once established and supports local biodiversity.

The ‘Forest of Thanks’ will be a wonderful addition to our borough’s green spaces, and it was an honour to plant my own tree there.

Just four years after planting, the ‘Forest of Thanks’ will deliver benefits including:

•    Absorb 24,000 kg of carbon: up to 30 times better absorption compared to other tree-planting schemes
•    Show a huge increase in Biodiversity
•    Process 1,500,000 litres of rain
•    Improve air quality by reducing polluting floating particulates by up to 10%
•    Up to 30 times better noise reduction compared to other tree-planting schemes

The ‘Forest of Thanks’ will be the largest Miyawaki Forest in the UK and Europe.

Council Leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, who was there and planted his own tree said: “With what has been an extremely difficult time for our residents and people across the world, it is important that we recognise the sacrifices of those who work in the NHS, our keyworkers and others who have consistently gone above and beyond to help those who need it most.

“We wanted to recognise those individuals in a very special way and one that would benefit the local community. The ‘Forest of Thanks’ will be there for a long time to show our appreciation for all the incredible work they continue to do.”

Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, who also attended the planting session said: “This is such a beautiful way of expressing our thanks to our local NHS staff and keyworkers who throughout this pandemic, worked with resilience and compassion, during what has been a difficult time for our community. The ‘Forest of Thanks’ will be a wonderful addition to our borough’s green spaces, and it was an honour to plant my own tree there.”

Subscribe to One Borough newsletter

Subscribe to receive updates on news, events, jobs and council updates that affect you.