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Micro forests plan takes root at roadside

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A group including junior volunteers at Bermuda Zoological Society work on a reforestation project (Photograph supplied)

A pilot project to restore endemic trees through micro forests and teach young people about conservation has put out its first shoots.

The Bermuda Zoological Society launched the BZS Micro Forest Project this month with financial backing from reinsurance firm RenaissanceRe and planning support from the Department of Parks.

Colin Brown, the president of the BZS, said: “The BZS pilot project proposes to promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage by creating several sustainable micro forests".

"The BZS tree-planting strategy and detailed landscaping plan have been reviewed, ensuring landscaping within the site is acceptable.

“The success of the Trunk Island living classroom restoration of native flora and fauna is a great model – since 2015, casuarinas have been eradicated and 50 per cent of the island has been restored.

“In addition, more than 1,250 community and corporate volunteers have contributed 5,742 hours culling invasives and planting 901 natives and endemics.”

Mr Brown added: "Planting trees and enhancing woodland ecosystems can be a highly successful approach that conscientious individuals, schools, organisations, and governments can embrace as they look to combat the challenges of climate change.“

A strip of land in Smith’s Parish before work began on a reforestation project (Photograph supplied)

The project, led by BZS staff, was designed to support native and migratory wildlife.

It utilised ideas from leading conservationist David Wingate’s lifelong reforestation project as well as the Trunk Island project and the Miyawaki model, pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, which creates dense growth on small patches of land.

Dr Wingate, who was conservation officer for the Department of Parks from 1966 until he retired in 2000, said: "Bermuda is a perfect place to support micro forests and, in fact, already has had decades of success undertaking native woodland restoration projects at Nonsuch Island in 1962, and more recently, Trunk Island, Walsingham Reserve, Sears Cave, Somerset Long Bay and Pitman's Pond.

"Micro forests grow in two to three years and are self-sustaining and communities across Bermuda have already benefited from the small woodlands we have created over the years.

“They help to lower temperatures, reduce air and noise pollution, attract local birds and insects, and create carbon sinks – anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases".

Mr Brown hopes to expand the scheme to other areas and create “tangible opportunities for all Bermudians to help conserve our precious environment for future generations".

A group including junior volunteers at Bermuda Zoological Society start reforestation work (Photograph supplied)

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Published November 23, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated November 23, 2021 at 7:45 am)

Micro forests plan takes root at roadside

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