Oct 19, 2020
The last tree planting in OISCA 10-year Coastal Forest Restoration Project was recently held at the coastal area in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. This year, a total of 12,000 black pine seedlings were planted over an area of 2.18 hectares. We have covered an area of 103.04 hectares, which is more than the original target of 100 hectares.
On October 6, about 50 people took part in the event. The participants comprised members of the Association for the Restoration of Coastal Forest, body consisting of disaster-affected local residents, mostly farmers; professional forestry workers of local Miyagi Central Forestry Cooperative, Mayor Shiro Yamada and officials of Natori City, Ms. Etsuko Nakano, President of OISCA and relevant staff, and a few local volunteers. Out of the concern about Coronavirus infection, the participants were limited to mostly locals.
Black pine seedlings were raised in container by the members of the Coastal Forest Restoration Association at OISCA nursery. Prior to transplanting, the seedlings were soaked into polymer solution. Under the extreme weather and poor soil condition, this process helps in the firm rooting of the black pines which is necessary for their survival.
Natori Mayor Shiro Yamada, while struggling hard with an unfamiliar field work did his best in planting seedlings together with other participants. Boarding the 27-meter high platform, Mayor Yamada had the chance to see the aerial view of the 5-kilometer-long project. He commented: “with the help of more than 10,000 volunteers, we have come to this point. We do hope it will be a citizens’ forest in the future.”
A student volunteer majoring in law at Tohoku University commented: “I joined this volunteering work for the first time. I am getting a unique experience that I can’t usually get. I am meeting different people with diverse backgrounds on the field. This experience will surely help in my future life”.
The 10-year project was started immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake which caused devasting damage in March 2011. So far, about 370,000 seedlings were planted. The survival rate is remarkable 99.1% since the first planting 7 years ago. The seedlings planted in the early period have now grown into splendid trees over 4 meters in height. The total cost of the project including future maintenance work is estimated to be one billion yen which is entirely raised through donations and grants from Japanese and foreign private companies, organizations and private individuals. In March 2021, the 10-year plan ends and will move to second 10-year plan mainly for maintenance work such as weeding and thinning.
The last tree planting event attracted a strong interest from national and local media. NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) filmed it and broadcast as hot news program nationwide on TV and a local news radio program on the same day. Other TV and newspapers such as Miyagi TV, HIGASHINIPPON Broadcasting, the YOMIURI SHIMBUN and the KAHOKUSHIMPO also carried out on site coverage and respectively reported.