Why is Brookline planting Mini-Forests?

Communities around the globe are planting pockets of native trees, called Mini-Forests, to manage the effects of climate change. Based on research conducted by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, dense plantings of native tree and shrub seedlings can be as small as two parking spaces and still provide large benefits.

  • cools and filters air
  • stores carbon
  • increases biodiversity
  • reduces flooding & erosion
  • grows fast

Watching the Forest Grow

Two adult figures stand beside shrubs and saplings that come to knee-heightYear 1: Native seedlings are densely planted in decompacted and enriched soil. During the first 3 years, some weeding and watering is needed to ensure the establishment of native species.

Two adults and a child stand beside shrubs and saplings that come to adult head-heightYear 3: The seedlings mature, growing up to 3 feet per year, 10 times faster than normal, due to cooperation with surrounding plants and soil. As sun-tolerant species shade out weeds, the environment fosters the growth of long-lived trees.

Two adults stand near a forest that towers well above their headsYear 20: The multi-layered structure of shrubs and trees of our native forest emerges, providing habitat and climate resiliency without requiring maintenance. The densely planted mini-forest is 20 times more biodiverse than a conventional forest and stores 40 times more carbon than a tree plantation.

Brookline Avenue Playground Mini-ForestPeople planting in mini forest

Photo 1: Leise Jones Photography

Thank you to the many volunteers who came to Brookline Avenue Playground on October 15, 2023 to plant the town’s first Mini-Forest.


Come visit Brookline's new mini-forest at Brookline Avenue Playground! A big thank you to all the awesome volunteers that joined us on October 15, 2023, to plant the town's first mini-forest. 

This mini-forest is composed of more than 350 native plants including the following species:

  • White pine
  • Tulip tree
  • Red maple
  • Red oak
  • Shadblow serviceberry
  • Spicebush

 Where to find: 575 Brookline Ave, Brookline MA

Closest public transportation: Bus routes 60 and 65 at Brookline Ave @ Aspinwall Ave

Want to learn more about the Miyawaki method? Watch the documentary A Cambridge Miyawaki Forest by Brookline filmmaker Isabel Pisano. This 32-minute movie is available to stream and shows how Cambridge planted their mini-forest in Danehy Park in 2021.