The municipalities of Groningen and Meppel will be among the first to receive new native “tiny forests” later this year.
Translation by Traci White
Willows, birches, oaks, hazelnut and mountain-ashe, all of which are native to the Netherlands, will be planted in a dozen municipalities across the country. The forests, which will be about the size of a tennis court, are part of a nationwide initiative to improve air quality and provide a new meeting place for locals. There will be 56 such forests across the country – each participating municipality will get four of them. Groningen and Meppel are among the first 12 municipalities that will get their own mini forests.
The project is an initiative of the IVN Natuureducatie organisation, and the group plans to work together with local schools and residents to identify the ideal area to create the forests. IVN wants every municipality of the country to have its own tiny forests eventually.
The new green areas should also attract butterflies, birds, bees and small mammals, and provide an outdoor space for children to learn about nature. Wageningen University’s Environmental Research department will analyse the impact of the Tiny Forests on biodiversity, heat stress, and water and CO2storage. The forestation project is being carried out with 1.85 million euros from the National Post Code Lottery.
Deforestation throughout Dutch history has left the Netherlands with very few natural or native wooded areas. According to City Lab, the Netherlands and Ireland are the least forested countries in Europe: both countries only have 11 percent of their surface area covered by trees. In 2016, the State Forestry Commission announced plans to increase wooded areas by up to 25 percent over the next 30 years.