Bringing 3 schools together in Anderlecht.
Unity Forest is an initiative by the horticultural department of the Institut Redouté Peiffer in Anderlecht, just outside of Brussels. 2,800 Sq m of open land was transformed into a dense, biodiverse forest in collaboration with two other local schools: Lycée Soeur Emmanuelle & École Raymond Van Belle.
Unity Forest has undoubtedly nourished the spirit too, offering a space to immerse oneself in nature, to observe the seasonal changes of the trees and also watch the transformation of this biodiversity desert into a flourishing urban forest.
Nicolas de Brabandère
Forest Report: 2023
Average of Tallest 3 Trees
Throughout the forest, growth is generally uniform, except for a specific area once planted with walnut trees - known for releasing allelopathic substances (juglones) which inhibit germination and growth of neighboring plants. The prevalence of grass in this section poses a challenge, requiring regular maintenance to prevent it from smothering other plants. Despite exposure to wind and sun, the overall condition of the trees is robust and healthy. The buzzing presence of numerous flying insects adds to the lively ecosystem. Notably, there has been one maintenance effort since the initial planting, so we cannot yet consider the forest to be self-sustaining. The proximity of a school nearby also adds to the feeling of community in the surrounding area.
Planting: October 2022
Why the Unity Forest?
The project focused on bringing together teachers and students in Anderlecht and making each step of the creation a shared, educational experience. The pupils and teachers were trained in the Miyawaki method. The four main parts of the teaching programme consisted of: the study of the soil, preparation of the soil, native species research and planting. Unity Forest has engaged and challenged the mind, encouraged dialogue across different schools and age groups, and strengthened community bonds.