Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture

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Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture

The project was conceived after Japan was hit by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and 8 meters tsunami in Tohoku Region on the 11th of March 2011. In collaboration with the local and national government of Japan, forest experts, public and private companies, Nigata University, and the members of the Association for the Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City (group of local farmers and disaster victims); OISCA is reforesting a portion of the 3,659.3 hectares of damaged coastal forest in Tohoku using black pine and broad-leaf species of seedlings.

In a span of 10 years starting in 2011, OISCA is working on the restoration of the 100 hectares coastal area damaged by the March 11 tsunami in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. Local farmers who survived the disaster were subcontracted in raising black pine seedlings at OISCA nursery.

OISCA also conducts information dissemination campaigns, including actual project site visits to mobilize future volunteer leaders. Fund raising campaigns and project lobbying are organized within and outside Japan to further promote the project. The first actual tree planting was carried out in 2014.

Link to Youtube News: 2014 NHK World



  • Aerial image of the planting site
  • Discussion with the stakeholders – the local government, victims and forest experts.
  • Organized a symposium in Tokyo attended by 353 supporters to OISCA coastal reforestation.

  • The locals underwent training on growing of pine seedlings at a registered nursery in Zao, Miyagi.

  • OISCA collaborated with ANA. Using the Boeing 787, Tokyo based diplomats, supporters and company representatives visited the project site.



  • OISCA collaborated with the Foreign Press Center of Japan to facilitate international media groups for the further promotion of OISCA’s Coastal Restoration Project in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. *The Association for the Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City was established.
  • First batch of black pine seeds were sown.
  • Shinto priest performing a local Japanese ritual during the nursery`s official opening ceremony.
  • Project lobbying through side event at the Rio+20 of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Organized actual project site visit by the potential project supporters.
  • Project lobbying through side event in the 2012 Tokyo Annual Meeting by the IMF and World Bank Groups.
  • Conference and panel discussion in National Olympics Youth Center in Tokyo, Japan.

  • Collection of 20,000 seeds of broadleaf species.



  • Mr. Andrei Abramov, Chief of the Non-Governmental Organization Branch at the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations visited the project site.


  • Sowing of black pine seeds in plastic containers
  • 89% survival rate of the black pine seedlings grown in the nursery assessed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries Tohoku Region.


  • Rain or shine, volunteers are helping in maintenance of the nursery with the pine seedlings to be planted in May 2014.


  • Members of the Association spraying insecticide for pest control.
  • Members of the Association for the Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City during the organized study tour to learn about growing of pine seedlings in containers.
  • Volunteer experts who are setting up fence to protect the house which is soon to be built to store the materials needed for the reforestation project.


  • The organized photo exhibition in Sendai Station showing the progress of the project.


  • Organized symposium in Natori City to report the progress of the project among the locals.
  • Organized training in preparation for the actual tree planting activities in May.
  • 99.5% survival rate of the 75,000 black pine seedlings planted along the 15 ha coastline of Natori City.
  • OISCA joined in the Osaka Marathon to raise funds for the project.
  • Ambassador Kazuo Kodama of OECD visited the project.


  • Mayor Isoo Sasaki of Natori City made a presentation on the progress and future prospects of the disaster recovery.
  • Participation to the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)

  • Sowing of 93,000 seeds for 2017 planting season
  • Covered by NHK TV, it is an event joined by 400 participants, 100 forestry workers and members of the Association of Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori. About 10,000 seedlings were planted over 2 hectares of land.
  • Restoration of the coastal forest cannot only be done by tree planting but a repetition of site maintenance such as fertilizer application and weeding. Black pine trees safely marking one year.
  • A portion of the planting site was flooded by the heavy rain but fortunately, the black pine trees still managed to survive.


  • OISCA project staff participated as speakers in a press briefing on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster organized by the Japan National Press Club. The OISCA Project Manager and Mr. Shigeo Sakurai, Vice-President of the Association for Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City made presentations to journalists.
  • Mr. Isoo Sasaki, Natori City Mayor, participated in the tour following the presentation meeting on the previous day. It was a good opportunity for the participants to see the growth of the 1st and 2nd batch of black pine seedlings.
  • The planting work proceeded smoothly with members of the Association for Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City preparing seedlings while workers of the forestry cooperatives taking in charge of actual planting. Tree planting started on April 18 and continued through May 10.
  • The event was held with the participation of 430 people, mostly Miyagi local residents and 90 forestry workers and members of the Association of Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori.
  • The Governor of Miyagi Prefecture, Mr. Yoshihiro Murai visited the OISCA tree-planting site for the first time. Due to official business, he could not attend the ceremony held in the morning. Together with Natori Mayor Mr. Isoo Sasaki, he planted black pine seedlings and received a detailed briefing on the progress of the project by the staff in charge.

  • The growth of trees is remarkable in June and July. There are many trees exceeding 2 meters in height. There are also trees stretching rich branches towards all directions. They have already started showing signs of leading to function as coastal forest.
  • 100 black pine trees were damaged by Typhoon 9

    160 units of windproof fences weighing 100kg were lifted up by the strong wind. The following day, volunteers helped restore the fences. Thanks to the speedy restoration, only 100 trees suffered damage.

  • Vines, not so abundant last year, flourished. Vines thickly wind around black pine trees. Under this condition, the trees will wither due to lack of sunlight. Volunteers helped remove the vines and weeds.

    Glycine Soja vines flourish

  • Visit by participants in JICA training course on Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (ECO-DRR)

    A group of government forestry specialists from the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and other countries, participants in JICA-sponsored training course, visited OISCA project site as part of their training program.

  • Update of the project`s progress among the 19 representatives of the 10 private corporations and 4 organizations which have been generously supporting the project.


  • Members of OISCA Thailand volunteered in the maintenance of the project as well as made a presentation of their activities in Thailand among the local residents and government officials of Natori.
  • Ms. Etsuko Nakano, OISCA Japan President and Mr. Eiji Suzuki, President of the Association for Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City received the Infrastructure Maintenance Grand Award
  • Non-Japanese forest specialist and decision-makers visited the project site and learned from our innovative practices in rehabilitating the damaged coastal area in Natori.
  • To showcase and raise funds for the Natori and other OISCA projects, we participated as one of the charitable runners of the 7th Osaka Marathon.


  • Mr. Toru Doi, State Minister for Reconstruction, accompanied by 4 other officials of the Reconstruction Agency paid a site visit. 2018-02-09  
  • The 5th tree planting ceremony was held involving 530 volunteers who ha planted 9,000 black pine seedlings.  
  • OISCA and the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City were commended by the Ministry of Reconstruction for the outstanding contribution to the reconstruction efforts in Tohoku.
  • Discover fox’s burrow

    Until now, we have often captured the appearance of foxes, but could not find their place to live. The burrow that we happened to find while mowing the grass is deep enough to hold a 2-meter stick.  It seems that multiple holes are connected inside. The ecosystem is definitely recovering.



  • Black pine trees, protected by drainage ditches and are overwintering

    From December to early February, there are no activity at the planting site, and black pine trees just wait for spring and endure the cold and wind. Since the growth of black pine trees is slow in places with poor drainage, volunteers dig it with drainage ditches like a grid. The drainage ditches are active this year when it rained a lot, and we can expect growth from spring to early summer.
  • Maximum tree height 5.2 meters

    Black pine trees had grown significantly during the two months when the staff living in the Metropolitan Tokyo area could not go to the planting site due to the pandemic movement restrictions. Even in places where black pine trees were worried about poor growth, the results of digging drainage ditches have been achieved, and the overall growth situation is good this year.


  • An aerial view of the planting site

    The green is getting darker and the leaves are growing so that the soil can hardly been seen from the sky.  In order to create a disaster-resistant coastal forest as a coastal disaster prevention forest, it is necessary to carry out appropriate thinning, and the day is awaited.

  • Natori City Mayor Shiro Yamada participating in the last tree planting

    The mayor himself also planted seedlings.  In media interview, he said: “we would like to make use of it as a citizen’s forest in the future.”.  He was amazed at the growth of 370,000 trees, which exceeded expectations. The content of the interview was published in the morning editions of the following day’s newspapers.

  • The 10th Photo Exhibition was held at JR Natori Station

    After the earthquake disaster, the national government had been in charge of the restoration of coastal forests on prefectural and municipal land as a project to support the direct control of private land. On the occasion of returning the management of the coastal forest to local governments in February 2021, 10 years after the disaster, OISCA in cooperation with Sendai District Office of the Forestry Agency’s Tohoku National Forest Regional Bureau held a photo exhibition for citizens.


  • Book On Coastal Forest Restoration Project published

    A book entitled “Matsu Ga Tsunagu Ashita” (unofficial English title: Pine Tress Leading to Future Living”) was published.  The author of the book is Mr. Kobayashi Shota, former journalist of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) and presently OISCA Advisor. For the 10 years, he covered the project first as an active journalist and later, as an OISCA official, interviewing more than 100 different people.