Micro Forest

What Is an Urban Micro Forest

More and more cities are turning to urban micro forests.

Coming from Japan, micro forests inspired by the Miyawaki method ensure biodiversity and are in vogue in cities and neighbourhoods seeking to green up. Example in Montreal and Toulouse. Putting green in the city is a concern for many elected officials around the world. Reducing pollution in the city and putting plants and trees back in urban areas is a significant challenge. With the development of more frequent heatwaves, dealing with heat islands in the city is a question. The idea is also to improve the quality of life of city dwellers and their health. Therefore, the planting of trees is one of the actions implemented by cities like Montreal or Toulouse. 

What is a micro forest?

Urban micro forests appeared in the 1970s in Japan. It is a Japanese botanist named Akira Miyawaki who is at the origin of this idea. He thought about the potential of dense urban forests, recreating natural ecosystems. These spaces composed of native trees allow absorbing CO2. The idea is to let a wide variety of indigenous trees cohabit in relatively small areas of a few dozen square meters to accelerate their development.

Thus, reforestation is one of the most effective methods to fight against climate change. Note that these systems have good rooting and can withstand extreme weather conditions. This is a good thing for urban areas that sometimes face torrential rains, strong winds and periods of drought.

The Miyawaki method is on the rise.


In recent years, the Miyawaki Method has gained momentum around the world. Citizens are organizing and seeking to transform their cities, and it is about greening available spaces. The Miyawaki philosophy also has its opponents, who debate its effectiveness, and some speak of greenwashing. Although the micro forest, composed of tightly planted native trees, multiplies without maintenance, it does not ensure their strong sustainability.

The trees grow tall and fast because they compete and want to reach light and water quickly. A study on the Miyawaki method, conducted in Europe, shows high mortality of trees 12 years after planting. The young shoots grown in a city will not systematically give trees. 

Experiments in Montreal and Toulouse

In Montreal, Canada, two projects were conducted in the summer of 2021. Each one had brought together 600 trees and 30 shrubs. Carried out in collaboration with the Arbre-Évolution cooperative, spaces were made up of several species in the size of a tennis court. The project was implemented with the help of two private companies that participated in the reforestation program, and residents took part in the planting activities.

On the campus of Toulouse III, Paul Sabatier, a micro-forest project has been initiated. The goal was to plant 3,000 trees on a 1,000 m² area that will grow according to the technique of Akira Miyawaki. Endemic species were planted in a limited space and in a dense way. The project was led by the micro forest collective of the association Toulouse en transition and the Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées.

23 species were planted, such as downy oak, wild cherry, common ash, apple tree, and medlar. A scientific follow-up is set up to see the evolution of the trees over time, with a mapping of the species. 

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Environmental and Economical Heating Towards Sustainable Development


– What is economical and ecological heating in the context of sustainable development?

– Types of environmental and economical heating for sustainable development.

– Tips to take advantage of this opportunity to reduce your heating bill.

Heat your home, not the outside! If you’re tracking heat loss in your home, start by asking yourself about its insulation. Doing renovation work will allow you to save energy while optimizing your comfort.

It is useless to change your old heating system for a more efficient one. Take, for example, economical electric heating, if your house is not well insulated: the heat input will not compensate for the losses, and it will cost you more.

What is economical and ecological heating?

Ecological and economical heating revolves around 3 issues:

– reducing energy consumption;

– using renewable energy;

– limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The heating methods that can qualify for these criteria are continually evolving. The current economic context and societal concerns are favorable to them, which leads them to supplant conventional equipment without difficulty.

Note: Most ecological and economical heating systems are eligible for a tax credit.

Types of environmental and economical heating for sustainable development

For households, heating remains one of the most energy-intensive jobs, hence the growing interest in technologies that allow for savings on heating bills and preserve our environment. Some equipment, such as boilers, stoves, and heat pumps, use renewable energies (wood, earth, air, sun) and are qualified as ecological.


The boiler is a keystone of the heating system and can be environmentally friendly by advantageously using wood, which is the cheapest fuel and renewable energy with low CO2 emissions:

– wood granules (or pellets) feeds the heating circuit but can also provide domestic hot water;

– boiler and hot water loop can run on renewable energies such as geothermal, wood, and solar.

Note: The USA’s tax credit is $300 for purchasing a wood-fired boiler or a qualifying biomass-burning stove before December 31, 2020.

Heat pumps

The heat pump has its place in this enumeration, although it needs electrical energy to operate. However, its operation is very economical since it is based on energy extraction from the ground or the air and its return to the home via heat emitters (radiators or underfloor heating).

There are various heat pumps available:

– air-water heat pumps that can be adapted to existing systems, can also produce hot water and are reversible;

– air-to-air heat pumps that can only be used with electric heating systems and are more efficient in the cooling mode than in heating mode;

– ground-source heat pumps (horizontal or vertical capture) are the most expensive but the most efficient.


The stoves are very efficient heaters that are still used in most cases as a complement to a central heating system. There are different types of stoves:

– the pellet stove: its autonomy is generally between 7 and 72 hours;

– the wood-burning stove, which is an economical and ecological heating system;

– the masonry heater, which is a high-efficiency wood stove.

Tips to reduce your heating bill

Here are some useful tips for saving heating energy:

– Reducing the temperature by 1°C saves 7% energy.

– Regularly clean the convector grilles to avoid dust accumulation that would reduce airflow.

– A closed chimney or stove flue (when these are not in use) prevents the house from being cooled with cold air.

– Remember to turn down the heating if you are away for more than 2 hours, but do not turn it off. Heating your home would require more energy than if you had left it at the same temperature.

– If you are away for more than 48 hours, you can switch to the “frost-free” position.

There you have it, these few tips for economical and ecological heating towards sustainable development can help you reduce your heating bill. Don’t forget to leave us your comments in the section below.