Continuation of the traditional community-based conservation of secondary forests

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 05 October 2020

Most of the forested areas of the Kii mountains have been planted because this area has traditionally  been a place for logging. Trees are cut down every 50 to 100 years, and after the logging, people plant small trees. This traditional logging strategy has been done since the 16th century under a traditional technique such as seed collection, planting, planting density, thinning and felling especially in the Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture, where cherries are characteristic. Nara Prefecture has also introduced a tax for the conservation of the forest environment and is working with volunteers and private organizations through its municipalities to cut down abandoned forests. The abandoned forests have been replanted with broad-leaved trees instead of coniferous trees such as cedar and cypress, which are suitable for forestry, and mixed forests of coniferous and broad-leaved trees are being converted to forests that are free of human intervention in the future. In parallel with traditional tree-planting and harvesting, we are trying to maintain the forests and forest landscape in the Kii Mountains in a sustainable manner.

Classifications

Category
Co-management building
Management planning
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
Phase of solution
Entirety

Enabling factors

  • Traditional logging performed in the area for centuries and continuity of this tradition
  • Support from the government and other relevant authorities to continue with this tradition

Lessons learned

  • In recent years, the number of forestry workers has been decreasing due to a reduction in the demand for timber, a rise in cost and a lack of successors. The number of abandoned forests has been increasing, which has been the main reason for the control of planting density. This has resulted in changes to the forest ecology, soil erosion due to poor undergrowth, favoring landslides, floods, droughts and other hazards provoking disasters.
  • The recent promotion of renewable energy has led to the construction of solar and wind power facilities. This has led to large-scale deforestation, and there are concerns that this may affect the preservation of the World Heritage site. It is necessary to establish a system for collecting information on the construction of these facilities and coordinating in advance, such as the preparation of guidelines, in order to ensure coexistence with the World Heritage.