• Michaela Burschinger

Betty Davis Park Forest Project

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

As recommended by the HPGC board, there was unanimous support from the membership at our November general meeting to fund the Betty Davis Park Forest Project. Modeled after the Miyawaki method of afforestation, this park forest will use strictly local, indigenous species and plant them very densely, with various layers of vegetation (e.g. understory, shrub, tree and overstory trees) planted side by side to provide a thick, impenetrable quality over time. The resulting self-managing forest is said to require zero maintenance after two years and will be a treasure for local wildlife, children, students and the landscape design community.

While most Miyawaki forests have been planted in tropical and temperate regions, one known attempt has been made in an arid, Mediterranean climate in Sicily. Despite having more challenges than tropical forests, the Mediterranean afforestation experiment was successful. To our knowledge, however, this method has not yet been tested in California. If successful, this model of native forest creation could be a game-changer for Los Angeles and would be a replicable model that could be used at other parks, in schools, at businesses, in home landscape, and even along freeways. The positive impacts for biodiversity, pollution mitigation, reduction of surface air temperatures, urban beautification, and carbon sequestration are endless.

We are thrilled the project is going forward immediately, and to be working with the LA Parks Foundation and Katherine Pakradouni. Katherine is a local native plant horticulturist and consultant who brings to this project years of propagation, design, and horticulture experience from time at the Theodore Payne Foundation and Grown in LA.

The Bette Davis Park Forest has the potential to educate thousands of people about our native plant palate and have long-term impact on the propagation of a sustainable Mediterranean landscape throughout Los Angeles city parks and Southern California. Our support of this project could have far-reaching benefits for accelerating urban greening and the achievement of biodiversity goals for the City of Los Angeles.

Katherine has already started growing the saplings for our first forest! Stay tuned for how members can get our hands dirty and help with this exciting project!

Here is the timeline:

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