What is a Wee Forest?
A Wee Forest is a small, tennis court-sized, densely planted, native species rich, fast growing, urban woodland in Scotland. They can incorporate an outdoor classroom and provide opportunities for school and community engagement and long-term citizen science. They provide young people with an opportunity to tackle the ecological and climate emergency by planting and looking after their own forest in their own neighbourhood. Wee Forests provide places to play in a natural setting and opportunities to enjoy nature, with benefits for mental and physical health. As well as local schools and communities being involved in design and planting, each Wee Forest has a “Keeper Team” of local volunteers to look after it and measure its benefits.
Wee Forests - Part of the Tiny Forest Global Family
Using a method developed by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki in the 1960s, 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 and their benefits can be measured and shared.
Wee Forests in Scotland
Following a Scottish Government commitment to pilot Miyawaki Forests, NatureScot are working with Earthwatch Europe UK experts in the Tiny Forest method, and a range of Scottish Local Delivery Partners (LDPs) to deliver 10 demonstration Wee Forests from Ayrshire to Aberdeen. The Wee Forest Demonstration Project will provide the LDPs with Wee Forest accreditation training to enable them to establish Wee Forests throughout Scotland to a consistent standard.
How Much Does a Wee Forest Cost?
NatureScot estimates that, working with a Local Delivery Partner, each Wee Forest costs about £20K - £25K. As well as the trees themselves, this includes the costs of infrastructure like paths, a fence, benches and information board; but more importantly, staff time to encourage and support the involvement of local schools, communities and residents, as well as organising the preparation, planting and maintenance of the Wee Forest itself. This all takes time but is a crucial part of the method.
How can I get involved or find out more?
Contact us at WeeForests@nature.scot if you would like to find out more about Wee Forests.