How to create a mini forest? Step 4: draw the forest | Create a mini forest

Having finished the Dream and Observe chapter, we move on to the next phase. The next three first steps to creating a mini forest are part of a chapter entitled: Planeia e Colete. Researchers recommend starting by drawing the forest.


A good plan and design elevates the community’s vision and needs (Task 1) and integrates site-specific characteristics (Task 2). In addition to hosting the diversity of flora suited to the location, taking full advantage of temperature and humidity gradients, the mini-forest will provide various ecosystem that your design can enhance!


Maximize water and organic matter retention

Renata Reynaud

  1. Based on the orography, it draws contour ditches, thinking about us extreme events winter precipitation;
  2. Draw marshes (temporary or permanent) in existing depressions at the site and conducts the water from the system to these ponds.

Maximize solar energy capture

Knowing the flora (Task 2 and Annexes) and taking into account the sun and wind sectors:

  1. Plan the floristic base of your forest. Based on the total planting area and planting density (2-7 plants/m2), you get the total number of plants. The following percentages follow for each stratum: emergent (15%), shrub (40%), subshrub (30%), herbaceous (10%) and climbing (5%);
  2. Plans the location of plants in the emergent stratum taking into account the size of their crowns and roots in 30 years’ time, Evaluates the caducity of the leaves in winter shading (deciduous trees allow more light to reach the soil at that time);
  3. It enhances the edges of the forest, especially those on the south side, which will have more sunlight.

Maximize interaction with (and among) the community

  1. Create as many paths as possible, at least 1.2 m wide, inviting people to enter and avoiding trampling in inappropriate places;
  2. It equates to creating a clearing in the forest where people can gather. This could be around the pond, which will serve as a water retention basin in winter and a classroom in spring;
  3. Design informational posters to be placed in the miniforest after implementation that explain the project.


  • Journal;
  • Computer/tablet;
  • Pencil and eraser.

Attention! This task has great potential for the co-creation process: it takes the opportunity to integrate people!

This guide was promoted by the ONGD VIDA, within the scope of the project “1Planet4All Empowering youth, living EU values, tackling climate change” with funding from the European Union (DEAR Programme) and Camões, IP Facilitated by 2adapt, in collaboration with Laboratório Vivo para The Sustainability (FCUL), HortaFCUL, Alfredo dos Reis Silveira Secondary School, Army Pupils Institute, URBEM, TOMA

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