Effectiveness of the Miyawaki method in Mediterranean forest restoration programs

Schirone, B. et al., 2011. Landscape and ecological engineering

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Abstract

In the 1980s, Professor Akira Miyawaki introduced a new and innovative reforestation approach in Japan with the challenge to restore indigenous ecosystems, and maintaining global environments, including disaster prevention and carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation. Here, natural vegetation successional stages (from bare soil to mature forest) are practically forced and reproduced, accelerating natural successional times. The Miyawaki method has been applied in the Far East, Malaysia, and South America; results have been very impressive, allowing quick environmental restorations of strongly degraded areas. However, these applications have always been made on sites characterized by high precipitation. The same method has never been used in a Mediterranean context distinguished by summer aridity and risk of desertification. A first test was carried out by the University of Tuscia, Department of Forest and Environment (DAF), 11 years ago in Sardinia (Italy) on an area where traditional reforestation methods had failed. For an appropriate Miyawaki application on this site, the original method was modified while maintaining its theoretical principles. Results obtained 2 and 11 years after planting are positive: having compared the traditional reforestation techniques, plant biodiversity using the Miyawaki method appears very high, and the new coenosis (plant community) was able to evolve without further operative support after planting. Therefore, the implementation of supplementary technique along with cost reduction might provide a new and innovative tool to foresters and ecological engineering experts for Mediterranean environmental reforestation program.

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