Jul 26, 2021

To the supporters of our Mt. Fuji Project

The actual bird survey.
The actual bird survey.

At some point, we thought that corona has subsided, but in July, there was a surge again and quite a number of people was infected. Across Japan, vaccination is progressing gradually, but the emergence of new strains made future infection trends unclear.

In May, we scheduled our reforestation related activities with the help of volunteers, including the representatives of the companies supporting our project. Due to corona, we have no choice but to cancel all of them. We are lucky enough that we have our sub-contracted local forest workers who are helping us with the site maintenance. From September through October this year, we will organize events to mobilize volunteers to help us in the maintenance of our site. We are hoping though that there will be no corona surges.

Meanwhile, on the 16th of July, we conducted a population survey of Japanese bush warbler in cooperation with Dr. Morimoto of Yamashina Institute of Ornithology. The survey`s objective is to assess the forest condition, and evaluate the impact of our reforestation project. Birds are known to be good indicators of sustainable forest management.

We started doing bird survey since last year. This year, we originally planned to carry it out as part of our volunteer activities. However, corona problem and time constraints (survey can only be done from May to July), we have no choice but to do it on our own.

The survey method includes assigning 10 survey points within our 100-hectare reforestation site. At the survey points, within the 50-meter radius, we listened to bird calls for five-minute intervals. In general, it is difficult to identify bird calls unless you are an expert. This is the reason why we chose warblers, because they have distinct calls that can be easily identified.

Doing bird survey needs a lot of patience and concentration. It may be difficult for us to provide a result since we are still on the survey`s initial stage. In spite of this, we are happy to share with our GlobalGiving donors how are efforts are gradually paying off. Despite the difficult site condition (located at 1,500 meter-high, our planted trees are exposed to strong winds, typhoon in summer, and heavy snow in winter), our planted trees are thriving.

We thank you for your continuous support. Under much better circumstances, we are hoping that you could visit our project site.

One of the marking points within the survey area.
One of the marking points within the survey area.
Planted sakura trees are now bearing fruits.
Planted sakura trees are now bearing fruits.
Mushroom thriving at our project site.
Mushroom thriving at our project site.
Actual bird survey.
Actual bird survey.
Jun 15, 2021

To the Supporters of our Project in Natori

Selective cutting of black pines
Selective cutting of black pines

We wish to extend our deepest gratitude for your continuous support to our project in Natori. Without your generosity, it would be difficult for us to implement the needed activities.

Our project is now on its second phase and despite the corona pandemic, we are working hard together with the government`s forest experts, sub-contracted forest workers, and mobilized local volunteers for the maintenance of our project site.

On May 17, we conducted a thinning trial together with the Miyagi Central Forestry experts and Matsushima General Forest. In an area of 0.12 hectare, we meticulously removed a total of 138 growing black-pine trees. For the entire process of thinning, we needed 6 people who had to work relay for the safe and efficient removal of the black-pines away from the site. One person was assigned for the actual cutting using a small chainsaw, 4 persons to carry them outside, and 1 person to load on the truck. If the cut trees are left within the project site to rot, it will become a hotbed for damaging pine worms.

Here are the three main reasons why there is a need to do thinning:

  1. Thinning will promote horizontal growth of roots which is important for growing strong, big, and sturdy individual trees tolerant to natural disturbance. This is crucial for the creation of a healthy and resilient forest that will protect the people from disasters, wind-blown sand, salt-spray, and strong wind. Moreover, the pre-tsunami black-pines were never thinned and as a result, they were easily uprooted and wiped-out by tsunami.
  2. With thinning, sunlight could freely penetrate the ground and will prevent black-pines` lower branches from withering. Both the lower and upper branches of the black-pines are crucial for the protection of the communities and their agricultural farms from disasters, wind-blown sand, salt-spray, and strong wind.
  3. Thinning encourages undergrowth expansion, plant diversity, and improve wildlife habitat. Undergrowth hampers movement of wind-blown sand/soil that can be damaging to the agricultural farms.

We initially scheduled to do thinning in 2023, but due to the unexpected fast growth of our black-pines, we felt the need to immediately reduce the number of standing trees starting this year. Following the guidelines of Japan`s Forest Agency, we are scheduled to remove at least 25% or 6,250 black-pines planted in 5-hectare 2014 site.

 

 

Loading of cut trees on the dump truck.
Loading of cut trees on the dump truck.
May 27, 2021

To the supporters of our project in Fiji

A local showing the crab he caught
A local showing the crab he caught

On behalf of the local villagers of Nakorotubu District, Ra Province, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to GlobalGiving Donors for your generous support to our project.


Our activities have stagnated due to the spike of corona positive cases on the islands. However, at some point, while following safety precautions to prevent the virus from spreading, we were able to set-up smoothly the nursery in preparation for the next mangrove planting season. We are also planning to install fences within our nursery to protect the mangrove seedlings from being eaten by stray goats. Other than mangrove planting, we were able to plant upland trees in cooperation with the local villagers.

The locals are struggling to survive because of the movement restriction due to COVID and the two consecutive cyclones that hit their village. In spite of this, the locals are grateful that the mangroves that they planted before are helping them to survive. The mangroves serve as home of fish, crabs, and other wildlife. Their abundance and availability feed the locals and when sold, aid the local people`s income. Because of this, there is no need for the local fishermen to go far and risk their lives from strong waves just to catch fish. Moreover, since the fish are available nearby, there is no need for the local fishermen to spend a lot of money for fuel/diesel for boat engine. We heard that since the fish source is basically almost in their front yard, even women villagers can also do fishing for their own consumption.

Meanwhile, in collaboration with other international organization, we have set-up a crab culture within the mangrove project site to help aid the income of the locals. As we work together with the locals, we are committed to protect and preserve the already existing mangroves, as well as continuously the degraded shorelines.

We hope that with your generous support, it will enable us to continue our mission to involve the local villagers in planting more mangroves, and educate the locals of the importance of conserving and protecting them.

Mangroves that will soon protect the locals.
Mangroves that will soon protect the locals.
 
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