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Number of island micro forests set to double, thanks to bank’s sponsorship

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Going green: volunteers plant saplings at Warwick Playground on South Shore, one of ten micro forest sites created by the Bermuda Zoological Society (Photograph supplied)

The number of micro forests on the island is expected to double by the end of the year, thanks to the sponsorship of a leading bank.

HSBC Bermuda has teamed up with the Bermuda Zoological Society as lead sponsor of the society’s Micro Forest Project, which involves clearing sections of land dominated by invasive species and replacing them with a diverse mix of native and endemic plants.

There are ten micro forest plots dotted across the island, but that could rise to 20 with the bank’s support.

Colin Brown, the president of the society, said: “The BZS understands that increasing Bermuda’s biodiversity requires corporate capital to support our relatively new project, aimed at sustainably removing carbon from the atmosphere, and as such we are proud to welcome HSBC as the lead sponsor.

Tree-mendous: the micro forest planted at the junction of Jennings Road and North Shore Road in Smith’s (Photograph supplied)

“Their commitment is critical in expanding the reach of the project, so that it can grow from the current ten planted plots to 20 micro forests by the end of 2023.

“Through this partnership, the BZS will be able to sustainably manage and preserve these forests and make a significant impact to protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity, absorb carbon, enhance physical resilience from extreme weather events, cool the land and provide the community with a brighter future.”

Miyawaki method

The BZS is using the Miyawaki method of planting a dense native and endemic forest in tight areas of land.

The Miyawaki method, developed by Akira Miyawaki, focuses on the use of trees and plants that would naturally grow in the area and work together to create a diverse, multilayered forest community.

The approach allows trees to be densely planted and, with proper ground preparation, grow significantly faster than conventionally grown trees.

In addition to the bank’s financial support, an estimated 300 HSBC volunteers will dedicate their time on the ground to support biodiversity work by chopping, digging, culling, weeding and planting a further 1,500 native and endemic plants at ten new sites.

Digging deep: volunteers had to clear away invasive species before planting native species (Photograph supplied)

Clesia Pachai, the bank’s community investment manager, said: “HSBC is delighted to partner with BZS on this ambitious initiative as lead sponsor.

“Over the past 12 years, HSBC has invested an estimated $950,000 to local environmental charities and projects that focused on strengthening biodiversity, restoring ecosystem health, fostering conservation and promoting environmental education in Bermuda.

“A project of this magnitude requires great collaboration and commitment across stakeholders in our community.

“After a two-year pause, we look forward to reinstating our volunteering activities and our colleagues reconnecting again with nature and each other and build on the momentum and successes of our corporate partners to help develop ten additional micro-forests sites by year-end.”

According to a BZS spokeswoman, the forests will help to lower the air temperature, reduce air and noise pollution, sequester carbon from the atmosphere and provide an attractive habitat and feeding ground for local wildlife.

The spokeswoman added: “Volunteers are crucial to the creation and maintenance of the BZS micro forests, and the BZS would not be as successful in our ambitious vision of creating and conserving these micro forests without them.

Green shoots: a volunteer takes care of a newly planted specimen (Photograph supplied)

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Published February 20, 2023 at 7:37 am (Updated February 20, 2023 at 7:37 am)

Number of island micro forests set to double, thanks to bank’s sponsorship

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