Utrecht Science Park's Tiny Forest

The Tiny Forest of Utrecht Science Park is alive and growing across from the Johanna building on Cambridgelaan. A Tiny Forest is a dense, indigenous forest the size of a tennis court. This is the first Tiny Forest in the Netherlands to be managed by a university, as a result of the bright idea shared by two students of the Utrecht Biology Association (UBV), and the work of the Green Office.

The Tiny Forest in July 2021. Photo: Dick Boetekees

In November 2019, university staff and students came together to plant a total of 500 indigenous trees and plants. The result will be an increase to the ecological value of our campus, along with the provision of a home for plenty of local insect, bird, and other animal species. In fact, a just-released interim report from IVN Nature Education's biodiversity study showed that Tiny Forests do in fact attract hundreds of different animal and plant species once planted.

The location of this Tiny Forest presents a unique opportunity for research to be conducted by Utrecht University’s biology department, the wider student body and the students of Hogeschool Utrecht, with whom we share Utrecht Science Park. Using the Tiny Forest for research purposes has been a guiding principle since the project’s conception, with special research tiles being integrated into its design. These tiles will allow our biology students to closely monitor the ever-evolving ecosystem and gain valuable insight on the level of biodiversity present.

Allowing for the wealth of knowledge and passion present on our campus to be brought to full use, the Tiny Forest will be the subject of many upcoming research projects and theses. By applying the lessons learned from this research to the wider world, the Tiny Forest has the potential to create a large impact in areas further afield, and to support biodiversity across the rest of the Netherlands and beyond.

A short time-lapse of the Tiny Forest Maintenance Day, where 10-15 volunteers and some university landscapers came together to give the Tiny Forest some much needed attention.