Born in Japan in 1928, Akira Miyawaki is renowned throughout the world as a specialist in the restoration of natural vegetation on soils that have been degraded by men or natural disasters. Past master of the art of growing wild forests in less than 30 years, the most famous Japanese botanist in the world tirelessly pursues his goal of restoring forests as they were at the origin of the world before the intervention of man.
His unique method of planting is based on four main principles:
-the selection of a wide variety of native species of the region, which will best adapt to the planting field;
-the random disposition of seeds in nurseries, which aims to reproduce the complexity of a natural environment in which competition and complementarity between species occur, and which accelerates vegetation cycles;
-soil fertilization using natural materials (recycled wood chips, decomposed plants, humus) before planting young shoots
-the autonomy of the obtained forests: after three years, the trees exceed 2 meters in height; the forest no longer needs man to grow. It can survive independently for more than 9,000 years.
Recreating ecosystems saved by man
The forests that emerge thanks to Akira Miyawaki are thus distinguished from the forests obtained by a conventional reforestation method by three main aspects:
-a development 10 times faster, thanks to the emulation created between the plants;
-a density 30 times higher, which allows a greater quantity of CO2 to be absorbed;
-a biodiversity 100 times higher, thanks to the density of vegetation that does not allow man to access the forest.
Carbon wells, natural sanctuaries for animals... Dr. Miyawaki's forests are also miraculous in their ability to protect the land, better than any human-built rampart, against natural disasters. After the Fukushima earthquake in 2011, the botanist observes that some coastal temples have been spared the fury of the waves thanks to the primary woods that protected them. In Japan, Dr. Miyawaki undertook to erect tree walls against tsunamis. His forests, scattered throughout the country, are designed to limitate the effects of coastal tidal waves or cyclones on Yokohama harbor, or to limit soil erosion.
Restoring tropical forests
But his action exceeds the only Japan: in total, Dr. Miyawaki has planted more than 40 million trees across more than fifteen countries such as Thailand, Brazil or China. Since 1990, he has been working to restore very degraded tropical rainforests such as Bintulu in Malaysia.
Honored with ten awards, including the Blue Planet Award in 2006 for his involvement in nature conservation, he continues to work for a better world, one tree at a time.