The Pocket is growing a Tiny Forest!

The concept of “Tiny Forests”– also known as micro forests or mini forests – was first introduced by
Japanese botanist Dr. Akira Miyawaki in the 1970s as an innovative approach to reforestation and
ecological restoration. Tiny Forests consist of a densely planted arrangement of diverse native trees and shrubs that replicates the vegetation layers found in a mature forest. This planting method allows for the transformation of underutilized urban spaces into pockets of ecologically rich forest, which can be achieved in spaces as small as 100 square metres (roughly half the size of a tennis court). The Pocket Tiny Forest will be one of the first of its kind in Toronto. Over time, it will provide numerous ecological benefits to the neighbourhood, including increased biodiversity and wildlife habitat, improved air quality and carbon sequestration, enhanced stormwater management, mitigation of the urban heat island effect, and an overall boost to community health and well-being. 

The Pocket Tiny Forest is a project led by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Program (SNAP), in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Pocket Community Association (PCA), and the Network of Nature. The Pocket SNAP is a comprehensive plan to accelerate climate action and sustainable urban renewal through neighbourhood-based solutions.

This initiative is part of the Network of Nature’s National Mini Forest Pilot, which aims to support communities across Canada to trial the tiny forest method of tree planting. The pilot is being led by Green Communities Canada, with core funding from Natural Resources Canada’s 2 Billion Trees Program.

Ecological Benefits of The Pocket Tiny Forest
Trees provide important social and environmental benefits to our communities. Increasing canopy cover not only provides important habitat for urban-dwelling species, but also reduces heat island effects, improves stormwater drainage, prevents soil erosion, absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and can contribute to improved mental health and deepened connections to nature. Tiny forests are a great way to support cities in becoming greener, healthier, and happier places to be.

Project Planting History:

Pocket Tiny Forest Site Preparation
In early July, TRCA staff conducted horticultural soil sampling at the designated planting location. On Tuesday, August 22, TRCA’s Restoration and Infrastructure team finalized the site preparation for the Tiny Forest, which consisted of staking out boundaries, laying cardboard across the planting plot to minimize the growth of weeds and grasses, and covering the site with compost and mulch to increase organic matter and nutrient content.

Pocket Tiny Forest Planting Event
At the end of September, 2023, The Pocket SNAP and Pocket Community Association (PCA) hosted an incredibly successful community planting event to plant The Pocket Tiny Forest.

Pocket Tiny Forest Expansion Planting Event
On Tuesday October 31, the TRCA will be planting and adding a little bit more girth to the Tiny Forest. While the September planting event was a great success, there will be one change from the original plan due to buried electrical wires necessitating a two-meter wide north-south pathway through the forest. As a result and to compensate for this lost planting space, the side boundaries of the forest will be slightly extended to ensure that the forest still has the minimum dimensions of density in order to thrive.