Tiny Forests Lower Temperatures in Cities 


Tiny Forests can help lower temperatures in cities up to 20 degrees!

A homegrown Tiny Forest is a dense mini forest about the size of a tennis court, made up of over 30 different native plant species.

Tiny Forests are reasonable solutions to addressing the heat stress in cities. Research has shown that temperatures in the summertime can be 20 degrees lower in the Tiny Forest versus around the forested area on streets and pavement. More than half the world’s population now lives in cities; by 2050, almost 70% will be urbanized. Cities that plant trees will be more resilient, healthy, and livable.

Our urban trees are amazing and provide a source of beauty along with crucial environmental benefits. Tiny Forests reduce air pollution, improve stormwater runoff, and support wildlife. In addition, Tiny Forests need minimal maintenance after establishment as nature takes over, making them a financially sustainable project for cities.

Tiny Forests have been planted around the world. India has hundreds, and Japan, where it all began, has thousands. The Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki created this method of making fast-growing forests in small urban neighborhoods. In his time, Miyawaki grew over 3,000 Tiny Forests in 18 countries.

The Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán is proud to follow in Miyawaki’s footsteps by growing Tiny Forests in McAllen, Texas. “We are working with area neighborhoods and schools to connect children to nature,” said Colleen Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán. Hook continued, “Our 1st “neighborhood” forest was planted on the corner of Ware Road and Jordan, across the street from the Palm View Community Center and Brown Middle School. Our first “school” forest was planted at Cathey Middle School in the spring of 2023 with the second one planned for Sam Houston Elementary in the spring of 2024. The forest locations must be in neighborhoods where families and children can be involved in growing their forest.”

Investing in green spaces like Tiny Forests can help transform cities into more resilient, healthy, and happy places to live. Forests and trees help cool cities and provide habitat and protection for many plants and animals. The Tiny Forest project is made possible by the support of the Friends of Quinta Mazatlán, Private Donors and City Departments, including Quinta Mazatlán, McAllen Convention Center, McAllen Public Works, McAllen Public Utility and McAllen Parks & Recreation. For more information on supporting Tiny Forests, please call 956-681-3370 and follow Quinta Mazatlán on social media for volunteer opportunities. May the forest be with you.

Colleen Curran Hook