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Development Officer

Lynda Johnson

(441) 293-2727 ext #2136

BZS Micro Forest Project

What is the BZS Micro Forest Project?

The Bermuda Zoological Society's (BZS) Micro Forest Project is an initiative designed to help Bermuda do its part to counteract the effects of climate change and deforestation. It involves the creation of dense, small-scale forests across Bermuda, all teeming with native and endemic life.

These compact green spaces, each containing around three to four plants per square metre, are strategically tucked into every available space, from schoolyards to private gardens. Despite their small size, micro forests pack a powerful punch in terms of sustainability. Within just two to three years, they mature into self-sustaining ecosystems that significantly contribute to the island's natural areas.

But the BZS Micro Forest Project does more than just enhance Bermuda landscape. These wooded areas are super-charged climate champions, helping to cool the air, reduce noise and air pollution, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. They even serve as attractive habitats and feeding grounds for local wildlife, promoting biodiversity on our beloved island.

Read on to find out more about how we’re working towards a greener future and a greener Bermuda!


History of the Micro Forest

In recent years, we’ve all become more aware of how much damage has been done to our environment and how much work there is yet to be done to get our planet back on track. While our island may be small, and its contribution to global climate change relatively negligible in contrast to larger countries, we still feel a strong commitment to doing our part. In November 2021, we launched the BZS Micro Forest Project as a way of creating the change we wanted to see, not only preserving biodiversity, but also restoring some of Bermuda's ecological heritage.

The BZS Micro Forest Project is the confluence of two conservation methods: the traditional, as spearheaded by Dr David Wingate OBE, Bermuda’s pre-eminent ornithologist and naturalist, and the innovative, as embodied by the Miyawaki Method.

Dr Wingate earned the reputation as one of Bermuda’s staunchest environmental advocates, consistently campaigning for the importance of restoring Bermuda’s native and endemic forests. He once pointed out that ‘if every household planted a third of its property with natives and endemics, one-third of Bermuda would be populated with sustainable trees, shrubs, and bushes.’

With these words in mind, the heart of the Project’s strategy developed around the innovative Miyawaki Method, a ground-breaking reforestation approach pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki. This process centres around planting dozens of endemic tree species – all suited to the local environment – in close proximity to foster a dense and diverse, multi-layered forest ecosystem.

The Miyawaki Method empowers us to cultivate compact urban forests even on small patches of land, making it an ideal solution for Bermuda's limited space. From school playgrounds and roadsides to public parks, we're using this method to create vibrant green spaces within our community that simulate and provide many of the same ecosystem services as natural forests.


How Our Micro Forests Work

Micro forests are unique in their approach to conservation and reforestation. Unlike traditional plantings, where seedlings are neatly spaced apart, in micro forests, they're planted closer together, at high densities. This encourages rapid growth as saplings compete for light, with natural selection favouring the quickest growers and thinning out the rest.

The result of the Miyawaki Method of planting is a forest that's 30 times denser and 100 times richer in biodiversity than traditional tree plantings, all while reducing noise and air pollution and absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) up to 30 times more efficiently. They also develop compact canopies, providing shade for their inhabitants and creating urban oases that help mitigate rising temperatures in cities.

Native species are used in these plots, ones which have adapted to local conditions, climate and wildlife over the years, including well known Bermuda cedar, Bermuda olivewood, and Bermuda palmetto but also uncommon and rare plants such as Yellowwood, turkey berry, white stopper, Forestiera and Bermuda sedge. Fruiting trees, including loquat, papaya and peach, are also used in certain plots – such as at primary schools – providing sustenance for local fauna and children! The selection of the right species and their correct ratio is crucial to balancing different forest layers and ensuring the forest mirrors the attributes of a natural one. After the initial three years, these forests will become maintenance-free, having established a thriving, self-sustaining ecosystem that enhances biodiversity and contributes positively to the environment.

All of this goes to show that those pockets of greenery you see dotted around Bermuda are punching well above their weight in terms of environmental conservation!



Before people arrived in Bermuda, the island was covered with a fairly homogeneous, densely foliaged and resilient ecosystem of low trees, which formed relatively open-canopied forests. However, the accidental introduction of two cedar scale insects in the mid-1940s led to the demise of approximately 95% of the island’s cedar forest by 1950, paving the way for invasive species like the Pride of India, fiddlewood, allspice, Surinam cherry and Brazilian pepper to flourish.

These invasive species propagate aggressively in the wild, ultimately outcompeting or over-shading native flora. They grow faster and taller than our native species, leading to a ‘double whammy’ effect: introduced pests and diseases weaken the native flora, then over-shading and displacement by invasives finishes them off. As a result, native flora has declined from 100% to just 5%. The BZS Micro Forest Project is a ray of hope in this landscape. By clearing land dominated by invasive species and replanting it with a diverse mix of native and endemic plants, we create dense forests of local plant life, facilitating the spread of seeds from Bermuda’s own rare and beautiful flora.

Micro forests serve as sanctuaries for native and endemic plants, as well as insects and birds. They produce flowers, pollen and seeds, which are dispersed by local wildlife, spreading native and endemic seeds throughout the surrounding area. Moreover, these natural landscapes absorb water, light and heat radiation, reducing the 'heat island' effect found in cities and urban landscapes and mitigating the greenhouse effect.

Conservation cannot occur in a vacuum and, as a result, one of our key missions at BZS is to ensure that we spread the word and educate current and future generations about the importance of protecting Bermuda’s unique and fragile environment from the ever-present threat of invasive species.



The BZS Micro Forest Project is not only a conservation initiative, but an educational one, too. We hope to encourage public interest in nurturing Bermuda's unique terrestrial biodiversity through the signage displayed at each of the micro forests. These signs explain the project's purpose, the importance of native flora and how visitors can contribute.

Additionally, since the project’s launch we have had the privilege of working with hundreds of students, instilling a deeper understanding of conservation and the pivotal role that native species play in maintaining the island’s delicate ecological balance. In collaboration with local schools, we've extended the Micro Forest Project to campuses across Bermuda, further reinforcing our commitment to environmental education.


The Future

As we approach the end of the three-year journey with the BZS Micro Forest Project, our commitment to Bermuda's unique biodiversity remains unwavering. We will be keeping a close eye on the micro forests, carrying out any necessary care or maintenance (although they should be self-sustaining!) and assessing their positive impact on our island. What we know already is that micro forests are here to stay in Bermuda!

BZS is also exploring ways that we can empower the community to create their own personal micro forests, transforming their private properties and backyards into pockets of conservation. With additional resources, we hope to establish a plant nursery that will provide up to 3,000 seedlings a year to be planted in these micro forests. Expert advice will be provided by our micro forest veterans and we are in the process of developing a user-friendly app to help put this valuable guidance at people’s fingertips.

We look forward to sharing more details soon about how you can join us in this journey towards a greener Bermuda.


How You Can Help

The BZS Micro Forest Project would not be possible without the incredible support of the Bermudian community. The Project began life as a public-private partnership in conjunction with the HSBC, Lead Partner, Renaissance Re, Founding Partner and Bermuda Department of Parks.

Since then, we have been incredibly grateful to receive support from a number of businesses in Bermuda, including Aeolus Capital Management, Aspen Insurance Ltd., Chubb Charitable Foundation, Convex Re Limited, Convex End to End, Cold Snap Services|HVAC, Lancashire, UBP and Vantage Risk Ltd. – all of whom have sponsored the project and provided the energy and enthusiasm required to clear the plots and plant the forests.

We have also received crucial support from the UK government through the Darwin Plus Local funding initiative, which funds projects that protect biodiversity and improve climate change resilience within the UK Overseas Territories.

With almost a third of the forests remaining to be planted, there are still opportunities for your business or organisation to get involved. Not only will you experience the ‘feel good factor’ of giving back to the community, but you’ll have the opportunity to organise a ‘Day of Giving’ with us for your team members. This allows your colleagues to give back to the community in a tangible way while enjoying a day of productive team building. These ‘Days of Giving’ can be tailored to your company’s needs, but a typical day involves preparing a micro forest site: clearing invasive species, mulching, weeding and planting.

Individual donations are always welcome, too, and can be directed specifically to the BZS Micro Forest Project if you so choose. We accept one-time or recurring donations but also encourage you to consider leaving a legacy gift for the Bermuda Zoological Society.

To find out more about sponsorships or individual donations, please contact Lynda Johnson, our BZS development officer by emailing

If you would like to volunteer your time or arrange for a corporate volunteer day, there is always work to be done and we are always extremely grateful for extra hands. We are currently developing a volunteer database for our ‘Micro Foresters’. If you would like to be included on this list to receive information about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please contact the BZS Volunteer Office by emailing