The Concept of Potential Natural Vegetation - A system for forest regeneration through the creation of ecology-based scientific scenarios
The aim of the project is to restore forests by applying the theories of vegetation ecology to tropical forest regeneration
Since the 1960s, Dr. Akira Miyawaki has studied vegetation throughout the Japanese archipelago, especially in ancient shrine groves, and has now restored indigenous forests at over 600 locations throughout Japan.
Dr. Miyawaki's approach is to plant seedlings of as many main trees of the potential natural vegetation as possible, using mainly canopy tree species native to the region. From the day they are planted, the various species and individual trees undergo a process of natural selection through competition, resulting in the creation of a diversified natural forest.
Seedlings with extensive root systems are random planted in densely mixed plantings that match natural forest systems. The trees reach four meters after five years, eight meters after ten years, and over 20 meters after 25 years. The result is a diversified forest that is allowed to grow naturally after three years. According to Dr. Miyawaki's theory of forest regeneration, the best forest management technique is no management at all.
The Miyawaki method is effective even in severe environments and has been used to restore both temperate woodlands and tropical forests
Unlike commercial forestry, forest management to cultivate trees as a timber resource, the Miyawaki method promotes the restoration and recovery of native forests. Forests offer biodiversity in its most natural form and fulfill the many functions of natural ecosystems, including the absorption of carbon dioxide and the protection of soil from erosion.
Since the main tree species are selected from natural forests, the original ecosystem, including small soil animals, will be surely and quickly restored.