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New 'micro-forest' in Jette to strengthen local biodiversity

09:23 12/01/2023

A new micro-forest has been planted in the Brussels neighbourhood of Jette with the intention of strengthening the local biodiversity.

This is the second such mini-forest to be planted in the area, Bruzz reports, and a third may follow this year.

These small "forests" are generally no larger than a tennis court, but still serve to boost the greenery in a city space and also help protect against flooding. The soil absorbs water during heavy rains that the concrete cannot.

A micro-forest consists of a special mix of native trees planted in a limited space, whose biodiversity causes them to become colourful gathering places for butterflies, birds, bees and small mammals that need a home in the busy capital.

The latest micro-forest in Jette can be found by the municipal cemetery, next to the railway line. The enclosure of the site allows the trees to grow more easily and undisturbed.

Jette planted its first micro-forest near Belgica metro station back in 2021, and other municipalities, such as Neder-Over-Heembeek and Forest, have also experimented with the concept, which originates from Japan.

Apart from increasing biodiversity and providing a home for all sorts of insects and animals, micro-forests also reduce the urban heat island effect by cooling down the city. They also act as water basins during times of flooding.

Planning for a third such mini-forest for Jette is already in the works.

“The location is not cofirmed yet,” alderman Bernard Van Nuffel (Ecolo) told La Capitale. “But the municipality already made a list of available land for this kind of project.”

Written by Helen Lyons