- Planet Possible
Why ‘tiny forests’ are popping up in big cities
Community forests the size of a basketball court can make an outsized difference, providing shade, attracting plants and animals, and even storing a bit of carbon.
It’s a warm June afternoon, and in a thicket of elm and willow trees, a magpie chatters. A beetle crawls over a leaf. The forest, next to an 18-story building and a train line, is about the size of a nearby basketball court; before it was planted in 2018, the area was a parking lot.
The Muziekplein forest is one of seven such ultra-small forests in the Dutch city of Utrecht, and 144 across the Netherlands. By the end of this year, according to IVN Nature Education, the organization leading the country’s initiative, there will be 200.
In Europe, India, and other countries, communities are creating small-footprint, native forests as hyperlocal responses to large-scale environmental challenges. The forests attract biodiversity,