Re-connecting people to forests, the earth and each other.
Did you know that Europe is the world’s most urbanised continent? Approximately three-quarters of its population lives in cities!
Europe’s growing cities have directly and indirectly contributed to ecosystem degradation, deforestation, and mass habitat loss. These lost forests and green spaces are now needed more than ever to mitigate the climate warming consequences of our increased urban living.
Planting seeds of hope for a better tomorrow.
Cities can be great, practical places to live, but what makes cities desirable also brings challenges of sustainability and pollution.
Over the last century, city-dwelling humans have become increasingly disconnected from the forests and natural spaces that we used to rely on. This nature deficit disorder has had observable negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of both children and adults.
Many people believe that simply planting more trees is the answer, but this is only half the story. The solution is not as simple, especially when done without care or attention to what is being planted and how it is maintained.. This is where our Fast Forests (inspired by the Miyawaki method) come in.
The innovative method aims to quickly grow quasi-natural forests in relatively small spaces such as urban parks. We also incorporate people space and events to ensure the forests are used and valued as a social connection space.
One of the problems faced when tree-planting to combat the climate emergency is that traditionally trees take a long time to grow and time is something we do not have. But when followed carefully, we can produce a multi-layered, self-sustaining forest within just three years!
This kind of high-density planting captures larger amounts of carbon as well as helping prevent water run- off and providing a habitat for local fauna through its rich biodiversity.
Recent studies have shown how a Miyawaki forest captured nearly 265% more carbon per acre versus traditional reforesting!
By accelerating the process of growing a forest, the method creates swift, practical afforestation in dense urban environments.
Fast forests for cooler cities
Cities tend to act as urban heat islands that will be much more adversely affected by climate change.
Our Fast Forests will address this by:
Currently, our all-volunteer team is planting the first Fast Forest in a 2,500 m2 of land at Bela Vista Park in Lisbon.
At 74.5 hectares, Bela Vista is the city’s second-largest green area, after Monsanto Forest Park. The park already boasts a diverse variety of native flora and fauna and our project will help boost this biodiversity creating a rich hotspot in this urban location.
Using the Miyawaki method, our mini forest will absorb 265% more carbon than traditional reforesting methods, sustain thousands of native plants, provide habitats for countless local species, and act as community hubs for eco-education, art, theater, and special events.
Our team of professionals includes biologists, forest designers, native plant specialists, and others who work hard to ensure the Fast Forest is mindfully laid out, appropriate for the plot and local climate, and will be sustainable for lifetimes to come.
Thanks to the help of our sponsors, Urbem continues to fulfill our mission of combating climate change and ensuring a greener, more sustainable future. For our first Fast-Forest, we are very grateful for the continued support of CML and Life Lungs Project for generously leasing us with the plot in Bela Vista and their seedling support and of EU-Conexus Fund for Sustainable Cities for their protocol support.
Read more about our mission and contribute to our cause here
Together, we are helping to make a positive and lasting difference in our planet.
Experiences we intend to provide:
Urbem is a social collective made up entirely of volunteers (26 people and growing!) who are working together towards a common vision of returning people to forests, the earth and each other.
We already have an amazing opportunity to create a fast-forest in Bela Vista Park in Lisbon, which will become a hub of sustainability education, art and events such as theatre.