We will use the funding to establish 12 Tiny Forests in urbanised areas across the UK. We will engage local communities, including schools, in planting Tiny Forests and monitoring their environmental benefits, as well as give them a place to enjoy nature. We will also build a data platform to support the monitoring of all the Tiny Forests we plant in the UK, which will be a key tool in providing evidence on the environmental benefits of Tiny Forests.
In recent decades the number and condition of urban green spaces have declined. This has been paralleled by a declining connection between people and wildlife. More than one in nine children in England have not set foot in a natural environment for at least 12 months, according to a 2-year government study.
In the face of these challenges, it is vital that we recognise the benefits of green space to local communities, including the significant health and well-being benefits that nature provides. Particularly as the urban population grows and pressure on land increases.
We planted the UK’s first Tiny Forest in Witney, Oxfordshire, in March 2020. Tiny Forests bring the benefits of a native forest – reconnecting people with nature and raising awareness of environmental issues, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as providing nature-rich habitat patches to support urban wildlife – right into the heart of our cities and urban spaces. As they are just the size of a tennis court, they can fit into urban areas where space is often at a premium.
Whilst this project officially ends in 2022, our Tiny Forests will grow for years to come, giving communities a place to relax and connect with nature, and a home for wildlife.
We still need help to reach our ambition of planting over 100 Tiny Forests by 2023. To support or find out more about Tiny Forests, head over to the webpage.