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Activities (Japan)

The Sea is Longing for the Forest: planting trees to protect the sea

Dissemination of information through tree planting. Festivals and social media have broadened awareness of links between forests, communities and the sea.

Since the damage of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the sea off Miyagi has recovered its abundance at an astonishing pace. The fact that the secret to this lies in abundant communities and the mountains has been revealed through events, newsletters and social media. At the annual Tree Planting Festivals throughout 30 years of the Heisei Era, 24,000 people participated, planting 42,900 tree seedlings. Mr. Shigeatsu Hatakeyama further promoted these activities, resulting in reporting by NHK and in newspapers, with a great response.

The C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland and forest growing in Higashi Matsushima

Events held where locals could participate and experience eco-friendly tree cutting.

We wanted to do something about the crumbling ecosystems in Japan’s forests. It was this desire that gave rise to the Afan Woodland at Kurohime in Nagano Prefecture. It was here that we thinned out 32 trees from the Quercus serrata forest overgrowth, and conducted an Eco Tour to publicize our maintenance activities. And in the regenerated forests in Miyagi Prefecture, local primary school children built a forest walking path, while we also took up the challenge of creating logs from thinned trees to grow mushrooms. Body and soul, we learned about the importance of forests.

A ten-year coastal forest regeneration plan

Growing a wall of black pines against strong winds from the Pacific Ocean. The coastal forest is growing at the hands of volunteers.

An amazing 2,213 volunteers have participated in an initiative to regenerate the coastal forest lost in the Great East Japan Earthquake. They have supported tasks such as picking up rubbish where trees were planted. They are waiting expectantly for the black pine seedlings being steadily nurtured for planting after next year, to be ready. From FY2019, we will visit local high schools to conduct educational activities, further broadening the scope of participation.

Returning the coastal forest of Kujukuri Beach to its pre-disaster state

Planting trees with locals is leading to increased disaster prevention awareness.

Working with disaster-protection forest experts, arborists and residents, this is an activity to restore the Kujukuri Beach coastal forest in Chiba Prefecture. It was damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake so tree planting is essential. To maintain the area where the seedlings were planted, 92 volunteers helped to clear 6000 m² of undergrowth last summer. Now eight years since the disaster, there was concern that disaster awareness was waning, but participation exceeded our target.

Protecting and regenerating the forests of the Mount Fuji World Heritage Site

With community involvement, activities to recover rich, biodiverse forests are expanding.

This is a project to regenerate two forests at the base of Mount Fuji to their original state. At the Kitayama Industrial Park Forest, undergrowth clearing and ivy removal is creating an environment facilitating the growth of young trees, while at the Nishiusuzuka Agreement Forest, trees that have fallen and died due to typhoons have been thinned. Eco Card holders also participated in this activity as part of a tour to observe the way Eco Card Donations are used.

Satoyama preservation by local residents in Kamiyama

Using thinned timber for biomass power generation. The power of the forest is becoming a life force.

In Shikoku’s Tokushima too, neglected forests are a major problem. This project is cleaning up neglected woodland adjacent to the town center, and effectively utilizing the thinned timber. Last year we were able to rent a digger, and succeeded in smoothly carting out thinned cyprus and cedar timber. This timber was reborn as firewood, biomass fuel and even a log house. This year we anticipate completing a long-awaited Finnish style sauna.

Turning Hachioji’s satoyama into a bright forest

Creating a forest where animals and people coexist well. A first step in that direction.

Lush satoyama (village forests) still exist in the Tokyo metropolitan area. While Hachioji is one such area, the reality is that neglect has led to ongoing loss of biodiversity. As part of this project that started in 2018, we have undertaken maintenance of the satoyama, including cutting out dead trees. A total of 258 volunteers worked up a “productive” sweat as they toiled. As a result, the dim forest is starting to regain a lovely brightness.

Yasuga Irodori Forest, where people and animals live in harmony

Returning flowering shrubs like hydrangeas and peonies to the satoyama (village forest). Creating a forest loved by the local community.

In these vast mountain woods, we will create a forest colored with the flowers of 500 trees. Despite an initial setback due to the impact of torrential rain damage, volunteers from the local community and city worked collaboratively. Taking advice from experts, we thinned out trees that had over-proliferated, cleared the undergrowth, and also held a tree planting festival to plant flowering shrubs. Given an idea by participants, we have started experiments to woodchip the thinned timber and utilize it in fertilizer.

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