‘Wee forests’ initiative set to blossom, thanks to Scottish Government backing

AN initiative to convert tiny plots of urban land into dense wildlife habitat is to be supported by half a million pounds’ worth of Scottish Government funding.

The ‘Wee Forests’ initiative – involving land about the size of a tennis court, planted up with 600 native trees – has already been adopted in several parts of Scotland.

Only four days ago, The City of Edinburgh Council announced – here – that three locations in the city had been planted up over the last couple of months: East Pilton Park and West Pilton Park, in the north of the city, and Mount Vernon in the south.

The announcement noted that a variety of organisations are involved, including in a funding capacity, and also that local residents and school children had taken part in the planting.

The Edinburgh council announcement went on to say: “Wee Forests in Scotland are part of the global family of ‘Miyawaki Forests‘ or ‘Tiny Forests’. Following the method – with its emphasis on community engagement, co-design and careful soil preparation – means that Wee Forests meet a consistent global standard so their benefits can be measured and shared.

“A Wee Forest is…. capable of attracting over 500 animal and plant species within the first three years. It also provides rich opportunities for engaging young and old alike with the environment and sustainability.”

A growing list of Wee Forests is beginning to emerge across Scotland, according to Scottish Government agency, NatureScot – here – which will be overseeing the use of the government funding.

Says the Scottish Government, here: “Supported by [environmental charity] Earthwatch Europe, people will also take part in citizen science activities to raise awareness of climate change and the value of urban trees. This will include monitoring the butterflies that use the forests and measuring how much carbon is captured by the trees as they grow.

“Planting has already begun, and NatureScot is working with local authorities and a number of Scottish environmental organisations to help roll-out the programme in 2022. Wee Forests will be planted in Glasgow, East Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and West Lothian. “

Pictured: Mount Vernon, Edinburgh, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland