Mt. Fuji is one of the sacred symbols of Japan. It always has an image of “snow-capped mountains” with pure snow on the top. In the past, it was considered as a mountain of faith wherein the general public was not allowed to enter. Before, it can only be viewed from afar. Now, everybody could freely access it, particularly hikers. After the climbing season, the mountain is now in its quiet period.
Personally, whenever I see Mt. Fuji in its dignified snow-covered form, I always am reminded of its sacredness. I felt the need to protect and conserve this beautiful mountain to be able to pass it on to the next generation.
In my previous report, I mentioned that local forestry workers supplement the work lacking in our volunteer activities. Before the winter season, from October to early December, local forestry workers replaced the fallen nets to protect the growing trees from deer damage.
In December, due to the low temperature and frozen grounds, it is tough for forestry workers to drive bamboo poles into the ground to support the nets. However, they worked diligently to protect the trees that we had planted.
This year, we were able to mobilize 74 people who helped reinstall more than 1,200 protection nets. Once repaired, the planted trees will be able to safely survive the harsh winters, strong winds, and heavy snowfall. Moreover, as we are tapping the services of forestry workers and providing them with jobs, we somehow contribute to the circulation of the local economy.
Please be assured that your support is being used to restore the forests of Mt. Fuji. As we involved local forestry workers, we support regional development, as well as the forestry industry.
Sixteen years have passed since the start of our activities, and we have somewhat left many footprints in the community. We hope that more people would be aware that regenerating forests, takes a lot of time, initiative, effort, and commitment. Moreover, Japan is a country full of forests, so it is important to promote further the importance of forestry management to be able to engage more people.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mt. Fuji is registered as a World Heritage Site as a mountain of faith. It has been crowded with many climbers since ancient times, and many climbers still visit the inner shrine of Mt. Fuji Hongu Sengen Taisha Shrine at the top. By the way, the land at the top of Mt. Fuji is owned and managed by this shrine.
Climbing Mt. Fuji in general is limited to the summer period, and is held during the three months from the opening of the mountain in early July. The number of climbers this year was about 160,000, which is almost double of last year's. As the number of people infected with corona has increased, it seems that the number of climbers has increased. However, since travel from overseas was still restricted, I think there were few climbers from overseas.
We reported last time that volunteer activities have resumed this year. We have organized them quite a number of times, and the last activity for this year was held at the end of October. This year, it snowed in October at our project site, and we were worried about whether we would be able to carry out the activity, but after that, the weather improved and the snow disappeared. We were able to carry out the last activity safely.
In the forest that was beginning to change color, the volunteers were working comfortably. One of the volunteers who helped planted the trees and have been part of the project since its early stages, have commented how he felt the trees are growing bigger.
As the site`s temperature getting lower from now on, the growing trees will soon face a harsh winter. However, following their growth cycle, they might endure a harsh winter, but they will produce new young leaves in spring. It may be difficult for us to access our project area until May next year because of snow, we will still be working on the promotion of project to gain further support.
Our project site covers a total area of 100 hectares, where we grow more than 20,000 trees. This year, we had more than 300 volunteers who helped us reinstall individual nets on about 1,200 trees to protect from deer. The mobilized volunteers, who are mostly our partner companies and organizations, enabled us to maintain our project site.
We are also grateful for the entrusted donations from our GlobalGiving supporters. We were able to subcontract more local foresters who helped us in saving many trees.
There are still many trees that need our care. We ask for your continued support so that a rich forest will be formed in this area 100 years from now.
As one of the famous icons of Japan, Mt. Fuji is usually visited by 200,000 to 300,000 people annually. In 2021, approximately 79,000 people paid a visit with the purpose of hiking. This year, we are expecting more people, even under corona.
Compared last year, on the ground, we were able to frequently conduct more activities this year. This includes mobilizing volunteers to help in the site maintenance, particularly in re-raising the fallen planted trees and re-installing of the individual nets to protect growing trees from deer damage. The actual volunteering work is mostly done in pairs, and in average, it takes at least 15 minutesper fallen tree to be re-raise and re-installed with nets.
From the month of April through June, a total of 137 volunteers worked with us, together with the local sub-contracted forest workers. Within the span of 3 months, we were able to replace the damaged nets, and saved the 520 growing trees from possible deer attack.
Moreover, the donations of GlobalGiving supporters enabled us to hire more local forest workers. It made a huge impact in net-maintenance work, which was delayed due to corona pandemic.
One of the first-time volunteers commented of how she had a very meaningful experience spending her time volunteering in one of Japan`s world heritage sites, with a close-up view of the majestic mountain, under a wonderful weather.
We are expecting that our site will become more active this year, especially at this time of year when wild birds are in their breeding season and actively moving around. This is also the busiest time of the year for our project sites, when many people gather to volunteer.
Sixteen years have passed since we started our project. The forest that we have painstakingly rehabilitated together with thousands of volunteers, is now growing steadily in the harsh environment, and becoming a home for a variety of life. We are committed to continue doing our activities hoping that 100 years from now, the forest could nurture an abundance of life, and become a forest where people can harmoniously coexist.
We thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for your generous support to our reforestation project on Mt. Fuji. We have mentioned in our last report how the temperature on Mt. Fuji has gradually dropped and snow began to fall from mid-October, a little earlier as compared to the other mountains in Japan. As one of the symbols of the country, Mt. Fuji has always been revered and held in awe by the locals.
It was unfortunate that in compliance with the government`s corona protocol, we were not able to conduct any activities in 2020. However, in the fall of 2021, we were able to mobilize volunteers to help us in the site maintenance. Moreover, within our network, we conducted surveys to monitor and assess the overall condition of our project site.
After the organized activities at our site, one of the volunteers commented that for a better future, in line with the Paris Agreement, we need to engage more people in forest conservation. Other participants mentioned how cathartic for them to be closer with nature, after being stuck at home for a couple of months due to corona. One Japanese participant told us of how being on Mt. Fuji, reminded his of the mountains in the hometown where she grew up. Meanwhile, non-Japanese volunteers expressed their gratitude for the chance to be part of conserving one of Japan`s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Due to cancelled activities since corona, we are already far behind the schedule. In spite of this, we draw strength and optimism from the huge number of inquiries that we are receiving from future volunteers. Depending on the corona situation, we hope to resume activities this spring.
At this moment, snow is still piled up and the forest road to our project area is still closed. Since our project site is located in one of the restricted areas, we are expected to submit requirements annually, which we are preparing at this moment. We are also preparing and planning for the upcoming spring activities, including re-raising of fallen trees, and replacing the damaged nets and bamboo sticks to protect the trees from deer damage.
Fifteen years have passed since we started this project. Despite the harsh environment, the different species of native trees that we have planted are thriving. We are committed to continue our activities with an aim that 100 years from now, the forest can support a diverse array of wildlife. It will be possible with your generous assistance.
May we share with you the good news!
Temperature has gradually dropped and snow started to fall at the peak of Mt. Fuji since mid-October, which is a bit earlier than other mountains. Everybody may know that Mt. Fuji is beautiful all year round, but I think that it looks more beautiful and majestic when it is covered with snow.
The decline in the number of coronavirus infection across Japan since September enabled us to mobilize volunteers at our reforestation project site on Mt. Fuji. Under this circumstance, it was safer for us to resume forest conservation activities on Mt. Fuji while taking certain health protocol measures.
We have mobilized 62 people including volunteers, project stakeholders, and OISCA staff from October through second week of November. We were able to re-raise the fallen trees, replaced the rotting bamboo sticks, and reinstalled/replaced the nets to protect the planted trees from deer damage. These activities are crucial for the protection of our planted trees from the harsh winter. Our project site is located at an altitude of 1,400 meters. We were worried that the low temperature might hinder the smooth flow of volunteer work, but since we were blessed with a sunny weather, we were able to work in good conditions.
May I share a comment from one of the volunteers who participated in our activity.
Mt. Fuji in November was shiveringly cold, but it was very pleasant to work under the crisp autumn sunshine, surrounded by trees in their autumn colors. Among the saplings, I was in charge of repairing, there were some with beautifully colored leaves, and I strongly felt that they had become part of the nature that brought colors to the forest of Mt. Fuji. I hope that the planted trees that many people, including volunteers, were working on will continue to grow and show their magnificent autumn colors next year and beyond. I am hoping that I will still be given the opportunity to join next year and for the next coming years.
This year, all the activities scheduled from May to September were cancelled.
With COVID, we were worried that we would not be able to do any activities at all until the end of this year.
Even so, we feel fortunate that we managed to organize activities with the help of volunteers. This made us at least one step ahead in terms of the maintenance of our project site.
We hope that as the volunteers get involved into our project, they will be actively engaged in sustaining Japan`s forest.
Meanwhile, OISCA is subcontracting a local forestry company to cover the work that was supposed to be done by volunteers. The funds donated by everyone are being effectively used to promote forest conservation activities even though activities are restricted by corona pandemic.
Once again, I would like to thank everyone for your generous support.
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