About IGES-JISE’s Reforestation

Reforestation for Life from IGES-JISE to the World

-One Forest in Each Town Campaign-


Honorary Director, IGES-Japanese Center for International Studies in Ecology (IGES-JISE)

“Native forests” protecting life, culture and gene pools

Everyone hopes to live a more comfortable, more civilized and more secure life. Building standardized facilities of iron and cement alone cannot realize this hope. We have to know that we humans are one of the life forms on the earth. Even though we build up artificial environments where all our momentary demands are supplied, we live as consumers in the ecosystem, depending on producers.

The only producers in the ecosystem are green plants. Especially multilayered native forests are the basis of our existence and the mother of our cultures. It is inevitable to introduce “building native forests” into land planning and city developing projects.

Building “native forests of native trees”

Multi-layered native forests have various ecological functions including preservation of water supply sources, purification of water, disaster mitigation and environment protection. Building native forests of native trees is an attempt to restore such ecological functions.

Single-layered plant communities like grass have only one thirtieth of ecological functions that native forests do, and what is worse, they almost prepetually need periodical care such as mowing, weeding and spraying agricultural chemicals. Monoculture of needle-leaved trees for lumber production also needs periodical management including pruning, thinning and weeding. It will be continued if it economically pays.

For regeneration of native forests seedlings of main species from the potential natural vegetation* should be used. They are cultivated in pots until their root system fully develops, and mixed and planted closely together according to the system of a natural forest. Planted seedlings are basically left under the management of nature, natural selection. As time passes, they grow into a qusai-natural forest with various ecological functions.

*potential natural vegetation; the most developed vegetation that the total natural environments in one area could support, supposing every human disturbance wes deleted from the area.
A slope covered with exotic grass along the path from the main entrance, Yokohama National University(Feb. 1997)
Topsoli was added, and potted seedlings of the main species from the potential natural vegetation were mixed and planted closely.(Jun. 1978)
Same place after 3 years Trees grew 3 meters. Shrubs with flowers were planted as a forest margin community.(May. 1981)
Same place after 22 years.(Dec. 2000)

Start Reforestation from Your Own Town

Native forests are forests of life – they ptotect life, gene pools, clean air and water, and function as disaster mitigation and environment protection. Native forests are forests of healing – they give us restful, tranquil time and ease our brain and heart wearied with urban life.

Each one of us should do our best to increase native forests for our beloved ones and for their future. Ecological reforestation is easy to start. Let’s have a chance to join in reforestation nearby your town.

1200 people including primary school students planted 15,000 seedlings.(Kashihara Bypass, Nara Pref. Mar.1977)
Same place after 15 years.12-meter high street-environment protection forest was formed.
1100 volunteers planted 13,000 seedlings(Hita City, Oita Pref. Apr. 2000)

“One Forest in Each Town” Project and Green Network

Nowadays natural forests in a strict sense are seldom seen not only in urban districts as well as in rural. It is desirable to preserve remaining forests, to convert tree species in forests to more native ones, and to regenerate native forests.

Groves should be made of native tree species in or around small parks and open spaces within a short walk from people’s houses. A space as wide as one meter is available. At the same time a larger forest should be built in each town and linked to small groves with green corridors. It is three-dimensional green network.

It is the space not only for relaxation and walking in everyday life but also for refuge when big earthquakes and fires take place. Native forests work as disaster-mitigation forests.

A small park is a temporary refuge. A line of evergreen oask stopped a big fire.(Hanshin Great Earthquake 1995)
A 1-meter wide forest belt (a path before the office of Yokohama National Univ.)

From IGES-JISE to the World

We integrate traditional “Chinju-no-mori” Japan takes pride in and the knowledge of ecology, the science of life forms and envitonments, into building “native forests of native trees”.

InJapan our ancestors used to preserve and build native forests whenever they destroyed nature to construct villages and towns. Today, when value standards are varied, is the time to start to build “forests of life” immutable in any period. These forests will live in the future of 1000 years.

We dispatch the know-how and the results of ecological reforestration from IGES-JISE in Kanagawa to the world.

The Japanese had the wisdom of building and preserving native forests, Chinjuno-mori(after miyawaki 1988), which will remain until the next millennium.
One of groves remaining in any area throughout Japan
A planting festival along a freeway in Qindao.2000 citizens including the mayor (right) planted 20,000 seedlings.
Right after ecological planting to build a disaster-mitigation environment protection forest near Ohgishima thermal power plant of Tokyo Electric Co.(1985)
Same place after 10 years.A forest belt as high as 8 meters was formed. “The highest technology coexists only with the best green environments.”(Paul Müller)

Disaster-Mitigation, Environment-Protection Forests

In building a disaster-mitigation,environment-protection forest, prior field investigation to grasp the potential natural vegetation of the region is inevitable. Based on the results of ecological investigation, main planted tree species are decided.

Taking the case of Yokohama, Persea thunbergii is main planted tree species in the seaside areas, cuspidata species on slopes, and evergreen oaks in inland areas. They are all evergreen tree species, and function as disaster mitigation and environment protection through the year round.

The combination of planted tree species differs little by little according to planting sites. To select main tree species and other companion species correctly is the most important for reforestation.

Building a disaster-prevention environment-protection forest at the back of Kurihama High School from the top construction, plantation, 2 years after, 3 years after, 10 years after

Dense Mixed Planting of Potted Seedlings with Fully Developed Root System

Main tree species from the potential natural vegetation have deep taproots. This leefs them from falling down in a typhoon or a big earthquake, but makes it economically and rhechnically difficult to transplant tall adult trees of them.

Accordingle in ecological reforestation we use 30 cm-tall potted seedlings with fully developed root system of as many main and companion tree species as possible. We mix and plant them closely together following the system of natural forests. After seedlings survive the first winter, they grow 1 meter in a year, 3 meters in four years, 6 meters in eight years, and 10 meter in twelve years. They from a qusai-natural forest with various ecological functions of disaster mitigation and environment protection.

Effects of Reforestation

Building native forests also contribute to anti global warming. Forests absorb CO2 from the air, and fix it as lignin and carbohydrates such as C6H12O6. Green surface area of a native forest is thirty times larger than that of grass. The function of anti global warming is also thirty times more than that of herbaceous plants.

Root system 2 years after plantation Roots develored 2 meters deep, holding the rocks.

Reforestation in Asia and Amazon

The first planting in pudong, a newly developed area of Shanghai Main planted tree species are Castanopsis cuspidata, Persea thunbergii and evergreen oaks, which are almost the same as in Yokohama.
15,000 seedlings were planted and mulched in one hour by 1200 people including primary and junior high school students from China and Japan.
Each child looked satisfied to have planted more than 10 seedlings.
The survival rate was 95%, which is the same as in Japan. Seedlings grew 2 meters high 2 years after planting.(Apr.2002)
A planting festival on barren land from alash-and-burn farming in Bintulu, Malaysia(Jul.1991)
Same place after 10 years Trees have grown higher than 12 meters.(Aug.2001)
A planting festival in Belém, the Brazilian Amazon.(May 1992)
10 years after planting, trees grew 13-14 meters high.

Declaration of Peforestation by IGES-JISE

We offer scientific theory and technique to build native foresta. We endeavor to restore and regenerate nature for healthier and more diverse global environments. We declare to spread ecological reforestation steadily from IGES-JISE to the whole world with citizens as leading participants, sharing in aweat of working soil.