Celebrating 120 years of its existence this year, Richter has partnered with the Metropolitan Horticultural Company, to plant an urban mini forest in Budapest. There are 120 trees in the forest in honour of these 120 years.ó.
Pilot project in Tabán
The mini-forest planted with the support of Richter Gedeon Plc is a unique initiative not only in Hungary but also in Eastern Europe. If the pilot project proves successful, Metropolitan Horticultural Company plans to plant more forests to counteract climate change in the city.
“After France, Belgium, the USA, Thailand, Japan, Great Britain, India and the Netherlands, there will finally be a Miyawaki forest in Hungary as well. The 120 plants planted by Metropolitan Horticultural Company include species such as checker tree, hornbeam, wild pear, white elm, sessile oak, spindle-berry, oneseed hawthorn and, in the largest number, field maple and Norway maple. These species are typically indigenous to the slopes of the Buda hills, so the small forest mimics a calcareous-soil, deciduous plant community found in low mountain ranges. The Miyawaki forest is unique in that it relies on young plants competing for light to succeed, so you don't have to wait decades for them to reach the height and maturity that makes a forest look like a forest. As soil quality in the urban environment is no longer particularly good, we need to replace the soil in this space before planting. The 120 trees of the first Hungarian Miyawaki forest are a gift to the people of Budapest from the first Hungarian pharmaceutical company, Richter Gedeon Plc, which is 120 years old this year” – said the Social Relations Department of Metropolitan Horticultural Company about the project.
“Long-term thinking and continuous innovation are the permanent building blocks of Richter's almost 120 years of development. As part of this, we place a particular emphasis on environmental and social sustainability, alongside the sustainability of business, because we know that in the long term, we can only be successful if we do everything we can to protect our environment and take responsibility for our society. This mini-forest project is a symbol of health and innovation at the same time, so it was no question for us to support the initiative,” said Zsuzsa Beke, Head of PR and Government Relations at Richter Gedeon Plc.
What should be known about mini-forests?
The concept of mini-forests is the brainchild of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who planted more than a thousand of these tiny forests in Japan and Malaysia. These mini-forests are growing as much as ten times faster than conventionally planted forests, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 1 metre. Their density is 30 times higher, as 3 trees are planted per square metre. A Miyawaki forest contains at least 30 different species of trees.
The idea of mini-forests was born in Japan to counteract urban climate change. The first Eastern European version of this was created in Tabán, Budapest, where only wood species indigenous to our country were used. Due to its species richness, this forest can absorb proportionally much more carbon dioxide than forests with only one species. The mini-forest is home to several species of birds and also serves as a kind of ‘fast food restaurant’, a winter and urban refuge for hungry birds and hedgehogs.