A two-day survey was conducted by the team of 25 members led by Dr. Kunihiro Seido, OISCA`s forest adviser and mobilized volunteers to closely monitor and evaluate the 75,000 black pine seedlings planted last May along the 15 hectares coastline of Natori City in Miyagi Prefecture.
Based on the collected data, the survival rate of the planted seedlings is 99.5% and has exceeded the 50% rate of the other coastal reforestation projects previously funded by the local government of Miyagi Prefecture. Pressured by the high probability of seedlings mortality and the limited availability of seeds due to the government`s control of its distribution; the seedlings are very valuable that we could not take the risk of letting them die from improper handling.
Tapping the services of the forestry professional workers and organizing trainings for the tsunami survivors to become professionals on the proper handling and planting of black pine seedlings contributed on the high survival rate. Since Japan`s four seasons hinders us from planting all year round, seeking the help of these professionals who are capable of planting the seedlings in a speedy and efficient manner is one of our best decisions.
We also attribute the high survival rate on the excellent condition of the seedlings; perfect timing of planting; and proper hauling and handling of seedlings during the tree planting activities. Prior to planting, the innovative way of soaking the roots of the seedling in polymer solution with liquid fertilizer is also proven to be effective.
Meanwhile, the representatives of Japan`s Forest Agency recognized the thorough and extra care shown by the total of 2,000 volunteers who have helped in the maintenance of the two nurseries and the planting site. The volunteers helped in weeding and putting of mulch using wood chips to cover the roots of every seedling. The wood chips are proven to be effective in conserving water moisture, neutralize the ground temperature and protect the seedlings from strong winds.
In preparation for the next tree planting next year to cover another 15 hectares, we are now growing black pine seedlings in the two nurseries. We intend to train and involve more tsunami survivors and seek the help of professional workers for the reforestation related activities. We are also working harder to further promote the project to encourage supporters and mobilize volunteers for the successful implementation of the project.
Blessed with a good weather, a total of 350 locals were gathered and volunteered in the tree planting activities organized by OISCA International in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture on the 24th of May. Since the project will be implemented for 10 years and an extension of another ten years, involvement of the locals is needed to encourage a sense of ownership and so as to promote project sustainability. Divided into 10 groups, the volunteers planted a total of 5,000 black pine seedlings in one hectare under the guidance and assistance of the professional planters.
Prior to the event, OISCA Natori Office has been organizing trainings to mold professionals who will be in charge in growing and maintaining the planting site. These professionals include the members of the Natori Coastal Forest Association Members (local farmers and tsunami survivors), Forest Owner`s Cooperative Association of Miyagi Chuo and members of the Sendai City Forestry Adviser Association.
Mr. Kochi Sasaki, project in charge in OISCA Natori Office mentioned the need of molding professionals to lessen the possibility of seedlings mortality. The poor soil condition and the exposure of the planting site to the harsh weather condition are some of the factors that hinder the survival of the seedlings. Moreover, the seedlings are very limited and therefore very valuable that they could not take the risk of high mortality because of improper handlings.
This year, in collaboration with the tsunami victims, local and national government of Japan, forest experts and public and private companies; a total of 75,000 black pine seedlings and 270 broad leaf species of seedlings were planted in the 15 hectares coastal area of Natori City.
Today, we'd like to share a story out of many lives you have changed - through supporting our project.
Hitoshi used to live a comfortable life from growing vegetables in his own farm located several meters away from the shoreline of Natori City in Miyagi. Unfortunately, the March 11 catastrophe did a major change in his life as his house and main source of income (agricultural machineries and greenhouses) were not spared by the raging eight meter high tsunami.
The high salt concentration of his farm prohibited him from growing vegetables with that of good quality. Because of this, he has to borrow money and invest on renting a piece of land away from the coast to grow broccolis, spinach and cauliflowers. However, despite this decision, his income is still dwindling because the quality of his vegetables are not the same as what he used to grow.In spite of growing it inside the greenhouse, his vegetables are still susceptible from salt damage, strong winds and windblown sands from the sea coast. These are some of the problems that he and the rest of the survivors are facing after the tsunami uprooted and wiped out the coastal vegetation, including the 300 year old black pine trees.
Hitoshi and the rest of the tsunami survivors felt the need to restore the coastal forests for the immediate recovery of their community. Although still suffering from the aftermath of the tsunami,he and the other survivors are working in collaboration with OISCA International, the local and national government of Japan, forest experts and funding agencies.
OISCA International`s experience in collaborative projects become very useful in the implementation of the Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City. Hitoshi is one of the beneficiaries of the scheme of providing an immediate source of income among the tsunami survivors by subcontracting them to grow and raised black pine seedlings needed for the immediate recovery of the 100 hectare coastal land in Natori City.
Unlike the traditional dole out approach in helping the survivors, this scheme encourages a sense of ownership and guarantees a sustainable and long term involvement of the tsunami victims like Hitoshi as they are actively involve in the decision making and actual project implementation.
In honor of the 3rd anniversary of East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, GlobalGiving is hosting a matching campaign for projects that work for recovery in Tohoku area. Starting today, your donations will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving until matchign funds last. To donate, click on "give now" button below.
Thank you for your support for this project, and thank you for tranforming the lives like Hitoshi!
In preparation for the scheduled activities of planting the 100,000 black pine seedlings grown by the nursery workers and who are the tsunami survivors along the 20 hectares coastal area of Natori City near the Sendai Airport this April until May, we built a dome to store the materials needed for the reforestation related activities such as plastic containers, fertilizers, hoes, sickles and nets. With the help of Maeda Corporation staff, net fences were also installed within the perimeter of the dome to protect it against the strong wind damage.
Prior to its building, the materials and equipment which are often use by the nursery workers were cramped in OISCA Natori Office. Sometimes they are burdened to bring the tools in their own respective homes. Now that the dome provides a safe and secure space to house the newly purchased reforestation tools, the nursery workers and volunteers from Tokyo and other parts of Japan who are expected to be involved in the massive tree planting activities on May 24are no longer doomed to bring their own planting tools.
Meanwhile, in collaboration with the local government of Natori City, we are organizing a symposium to be held on February 22 targeting 500 participants with an objective to further encourage the involvement of the locals after showing the progress and future plans of the project.
The change of the season means that the winter is not suitable to plant a new batch of black pine seeds. But this does not stop the seedling nursery workers, who are the survivors of the great tsunami, from learning more about restoring the lost 400-year-old forest.
Since the start of the 10-year-project in 2011, 245,000 black pine seedlings have been steadily growing at the OISCA nursery in Natori City. One batch of the seedlings is growing in new technology-advanced reliable black pots inside the greenhouses. The survivors are taking this time of the year to carefully observe and maintain the hundreds of thousands of seedlings and participate in forestry training programs in Fukushima.
The survivors are learning new and efficient forestry techniques to ensure a high rate of survival for when the seedlings are transplanted on the coastal mounds in spring 2014. For example, the potted seedlings are arranged in order for the length of the roots to extend out of the pots and into the ground. Once they are ready to be transplanted to the ground before the coastal mounds, the workers must cut the roots resulting in a tiring extra step. But after two training sessions in Fukushima, the workers learned that placing a film sheet in between the pots and the ground will skip the cutting step and may still result in a high survival rate. A sample of potted seedlings will be growing on top of a film sheet. The workers will observe the results of the both samples in the early spring.
With the support from the GlobalGiving community, these tsunami survivors are given the opportunity to learn more forestry skills to pass on to their future generations.
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