Horniman Museum and Gardens begins planting micro-forest - Museums Association

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Horniman Museum and Gardens begins planting micro-forest

Carbon-reducing project will provide a protective ‘green screen’ for the museum’s gardens
Philippa Kelly
The Horniman Clocktower
The Horniman Clocktower Sophie Spring

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in London has announced details of its latest green project: a 300 square metre micro-forest.

The project plans to provide a “green screen” for the Horniman’s gardens, protecting them from noise and air pollution, alongside creating new habitats for wildlife.

Following a successful fundraising appeal during 2021, an area alongside the A205 South Circular is being redeveloped and the planting of trees is already underway. 

Errol Fernandes, head of horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, alongside the Horniman’s gardens team, has been preparing the ground ahead of this month’s planting. 

Fernandes said: “We are planting 25 carefully selected species of trees and understory shrubs, that will provide a biodiverse forest environment that will support a wide range of invertebrates, birds and mammals. As well as this, we hope that this project will demonstrate the importance of planting trees in our cities and creating habitats.”

The western area of the site, which borders the busy South Circular, will be planted using the Miyawaki method. Pioneered by the Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, the technique is one of the most effective ways of creating tree cover quickly on degraded land. The process will help to grow a dense and healthy micro-forest, which could capture carbon more quickly than traditional reforesting techniques.


Fernandes said: “Planting trees is an investment in the future health of our community, our cities and our planet. Many of the trees that have been selected for the micro-forest have been chosen with climate forecasting in mind. Species that can cope with an increase in temperature and a decrease in rainfall.”

This new project follows the institution's 2019 declaration of an ecological and climate emergency and 2020 publication of a climate and ecological manifesto. The former saw the Horniman pledge to place carbon reduction and environmental issues at the heart of its work, while the latter promised a commitment to reducing its environmental footprints and increasing biodiversity.

“Inspiring change for future generations, investing in environmental research and the reduction of pollution are all high on our agenda,” Fernandes said.

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