2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record
In 2019, Australia sweltered through its hottest and driest year on record. In response, Edwina Robinson set up the social enterprise, The Climate Factory. The purpose of The Climate Factory was to build micro-forests that cool the local environment.
Since 2020, we’ve built four demonstration micro-forests. The fifth will be built in Queanbeyan, NSW in 2023.
Our micro-forest making method helps people reconnect with one another and nature and provides hope for an uncertain future.
Our goal is now to share what we’ve learned and inspire others to build their own community micro-forest.
Landscape Architect and Founder Edwina Robinson
A wholistic approach
2019 was a turning point for Robinson. She stumbled across a TEDx talk by Shubendhu Sharma of Afforest. She knew then she wanted to build at least one tiny forest or micro-forest in Canberra.
Robinson realised a whole landscape approach was needed if humans and nature were to thrive in the future. It was no longer good enough to plant and hope for the best.
Each micro-forest integrates water harvesting, organic soil preparation and considered planting to reduce urban heat.
Projects are led, planted and cared for by a neighbourhood volunteer team.
In 2020 Robinson created Canberra’s first urban community micro-forest inspired by the Miyawaki method.
This method was developed by Japanese ecologist, Akira Miyawaki and follows a strict formula. Mature local forests are surveyed to find the ideal species mix for a tiny forest planting. The soil is enriched with organic material. In Japan, they specified a local available product like rice straw. Then, the forest is planted at a ratio of 3-4 plants per square metre.
Each micro-forest is led by a volunteer group of community members. They are responsible for making decisions about the project. We recommend you engage a landscape architect and water harvesting professional to help with design and construction.
Liz Adcock partnered with Watson residents Purdie Bowden and Joan Cornish to create an ambitious plan for their local park. They raised $53,000 through crowdfunding and successfully applied for a number of government grants. The micro-forest and nature play space was built in parkland on Wade St, Watson in 2021.
Mike and his family helped build the Downer Micro-forest and plant the Watson Micro-forest. He is an academic, hands-on parent and passionate advocate of community-led micro-forests.
Our unique Australian micro-forest projects have attracted significant media interest.
Edwina Robinson (2022) ‘Creating Canberra’s micro-forests – cooling the climate one small forest at a time’ Diggers Winter Garden
Mara Ripani (2022) ‘Pocket forests’ Sanctuary