Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Native Micro-Forest at Griffith Park Appears Promising

The native micro-forest at the Bette Davis Picnic Area in Griffith Park is getting established after just three months.


On Saturday we visited the newest addition to Griffith Park, a native micro-forest at the Bette Davis Picnic area.  While the park just celebrated its 125th anniversary this past weekend, the micro-forest is just three months old and already it’s showing promising signs, according to LA Parks Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Ramsay, whose organization planted the experimental forest using dense planting known as the Miyawaki Method. The practice has proved successful in tropical environments, but this is the first test of native plants in a Mediterranean climate. The planting was funded by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation with a grant from the Hancock Park Garden Club.


Hancock Park Garden Club members Susan Humphreville, Michaela Burschinger and Carolyn Ramsay, executive director of the LA Parks Foundation.


The Miyawaki Method of afforestation involves using strictly local, indigenous species and planting 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. Currently, the plants are being watered but the hope is to gradually wean them off any additional irrigation.

According to the Hancock Park Garden Club’s website, most Miyawaki forests have been planted in tropical and temperate regions. The only other known attempt to plant in an arid, Mediterranean climate was in Sicily, which proved to be successful.  Ramsay and Michaela Burschinger, president of the Hancock Park Garden Club believe the Griffith Park project is the first native micro-forest of its kind in California. If this native micro-forest is successful, it could provide a model that could be replicated in other parks, in schools, at businesses, in home landscape and even alongside freeways.

“The positive impact for biodiversity, pollution, mitigation, reduction of surface temperatures, urban beautification and carbon sequestration are endless,” explained the Garden Club’s website.

“We are very excited about this project,” said Ramsay. “If this works, it will serve as a template for how we can quickly add biodiversity to our urban parks.”

So far, it’s working! You can visit the native Micro-Forest the next time you are in Griffith Park at the Bette Davis Picnic Area. Bring your binoculars, there’s lots of birds, insects and other wildlife.


The forest is already attracting wildlife like this avian visitor (perhaps a Northern Mockingbird?). More observations can found on the app under the Bette Davis Micro-Forest project.


The native Micro-Forest when it was planted in June 2021.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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