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Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest

by OISCA International
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Restore 100 Hectares of the Miyagi Coastal Forest
Shukuko, tsunami survivor and project core member
Shukuko, tsunami survivor and project core member

On behalf of the beneficiaries of our project, particularly the core members of the Association for the Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City, we wish to extend our sincerest gratitude for your kindness and generosity.

Shukuko (Ms.), one of the core members of the Association and in charge in weeding and watering of the black pine seedlings at the nursery mentioned how she wanted to meet all the supporters and volunteers to thank them individually. Since this is not possible, she is showing her appreciation by contributing and giving her best to produce good quality of seedlings.

Shukuko works almost every day at the nursery. According to her, tending to the seedlings is not difficult because of the expertise of Mr. Koichi, overall in charge of the project. At the nursery, Shukuko acts like the eyes and ears of Mr. Koichi. She notices immediately when there is strange thing that is happening such as the sudden wilting of seedlings, which she then reports to Mr. Koichi. Among other factors, we attribute the success of our seedling production from the action of Shukuko.

It has been 8 years since the March 2011 disaster yet Shukuko still remembers the strange sound of tsunami and the murky color of water. The water was already high and there was no place to escape. She felt lucky that their house had a second floor so she managed to survive.

Getting involved into the project and working with her fellow survivors helped Shukuko in recovering from the trauma caused by the disaster. As they worked together to achieve the goal of restoring the damaged coastal forest, they develop a sense of camaraderie and belongingness- exact opposite of the sense of isolation that they felt when they were relocated after the tsunami.

Seed sowing at OISCA nursery
Seed sowing at OISCA nursery
Shukoku with the other survivors.
Shukoku with the other survivors.
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Maintenance of the project site by the volunteers.
Maintenance of the project site by the volunteers.

Black pine trees sown in the spring of 2012 have now grown into 5 meters high (same height of an adult giraffe). It has been 8 and a half years since the start of our project and we have raised 72% (as of the end of August 2019) of the needed fund. We are deeply appreciative of your generous support.

We have mobilized a total of 10,920 volunteers who helped us in nurturing the planted black pines. We value the presence of the volunteers and we do not consider them as a free workforce. In this regard, we let them understand the significance of coastal forest, the importance of the field work, and the immediate need of carrying the work now. We use tools such as hoes and sickles in the field work. We are grateful that we have not encountered any major accidents or injuries. We think that it is because the participants understood well the working environment and they have a strong grasp of the content and value of the field work.

After finishing tidying up the tools, we gather all the volunteers and ask 5 participants of their impressions. A common answer is that they get attached with the black pine and are looking forward to seeing their growth. It may not be scientific, but we believe that the love of the more than 10,000 people who get involved with the project helped in the steady growth of the black pines. One volunteer commented that she maybe weak, but not helpless, and that her contribution can not be done by machines. One person can do little work in one day, yet the power of 10,000 people is a great force.

Meanwhile, one volunteer who happened to be a staff of IBEX Airlines (aircraft expert) based at Sendai Airport mentioned about the anti-fog effect of coastal forest. He clearly understood the significance of growing black pines and its impact to his work, so he is committed to continue volunteering.

It might take time before the coastal forest fully function as a green infrastructure and will impact the life of the local people. We intend to continue nurturing our black pines with the help of our volunteers and expert forest workers. We would like to solicit for your continued and warm support.

Briefing prior to the actual site maintenance.
Briefing prior to the actual site maintenance.
Project site`s aerial view with the volunteers.
Project site`s aerial view with the volunteers.
Volunteers while sharing their impressions.
Volunteers while sharing their impressions.
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Aerial view of our reforestation project
Aerial view of our reforestation project

It has been eight years since we started our project and we are now on the process of transitioning to another level. During the project`s peak period, rows of 8,900 pots containing 200,000 seedlings were a common sighting at the nursery. In the summer season, it takes four hours for two members of the Association for the Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori to water the seedlings.

Since 2014, we planted a total of 350,000 black-pine seedlings in an area of 67 hectares. At the nursery, we are raising seedlings to plant in 6-hectare area in 2020. Despite the poor soil condition, the black-pines have grown noticeable fast that the highest reached up to 4-meter high. The growth speed is faster than initially predicted and to have a healthy coastal forest, full-fledged thinning is necessary in a few years.

Meanwhile, the wooden windbreak fences that protected the black-pines from cold and dry wind are now gradually degrading. In preparation for the smooth thinning process in the future, we intend to remove these fences.

The increase of vegetation in our project site contributed to the gradual restoration of the area`s biodiversity as manifested by the presence of racoons, weasels, raptors, dragonflies, and reappearance of known to be extinct species of plants.

In March 2019, Miyagi Prefectural Government established a Disaster Prevention Forest Review Committee involving the local government with coastal forests. The committee aims to study future management system of the coastal forests in terms of preventing and mitigating disasters.

While the field is steadily changing, the outpour of support from private corporations, organizations, and private individuals is still consistent. The letter with a message “I am very glad to see that green is steadily regenerated by the people with good intentions in a wide and harsh environment” that we received from one of our supporters is heartwarming.

We are heartily grateful to the supporters of our project.

Our project supports the return of wildlife.
Our project supports the return of wildlife.
Growing black-pines and the degrading wooden fence
Growing black-pines and the degrading wooden fence
Volunteers maintaining our nursery.
Volunteers maintaining our nursery.
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Forest experts while visiting the project site.
Forest experts while visiting the project site.

It has been 8 years since we started implementing our Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori. Since the beginning, we have been receiving financial support from many people around the world, including the GlobalGiving supporters. We would like to express sincere appreciation for your support. Your generosity enables us to to carry out the project as planned.

Our project in Natori now serves as a model coastal reforestation project constantly visited by foreign experts and decision makers. Over the past 8 years, we have received more than 100 non-Japanese from 60 different countries, including a Mayor whose municipality was severely affected by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the reforestation related techniques that we have developed while implementing the project are now being adopted by our local counterparts outside Japan. Such technique includes the use of water absorbing polymer to improve the water absorption of the newly planted seedlings, which is crucial to their survival. This technique is now applied in our reforestation project to combat the desertification problem in Inner Mongolia, China, as well as in our reforestation projects in the Philippines and Thailand.

Now that we are on the second stage of the project implementation, we will incorporate the concept of Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (ECO-DRR), not only in Natori but also in foreign countries threatened by natural disasters, to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

We would like to request for your continued support.

A UN representative visiting our project.
A UN representative visiting our project.
Learning of how to use the polymer solution.
Learning of how to use the polymer solution.
The author with a local staff.
The author with a local staff.
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I am very appreciative of the fact that the Coastal Forest Restoration Project is steadily being carried out because of the generous support and cooperation not only by the Japanese and private corporations but also by many people worldwide, including the GlobalGiving donors.

One of the central figures of the 10-year Project for the Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City is Mr. Toshimichi Toshida, Director for Coastal Forest Restoration Project. Equipped with his skills and experiences gained from involving in overseas reforestation project of OISCA, he is aware that a reforestation project is not just a 3-year tree planting activity. During the initial planning of the project in March 2011, Mr. Yoshida, though initially announced a 10-year plan, was prepared to continue it for 20 years. His strong determination, and not the instructions from the organization or boss, has become the source of energy for promoting the project, and this point may be the characteristic and advantage of OISCA as an international NGO.

The project is now gaining support and recognition within and outside Japan. We attributed the 99.8% survival rate of the planted seedlings from the experiences that we have acquired from implementing reforestation projects overseas. In our reforestation sites outside Japan, 90% is considered to be a fair success, and it is rare to seek further. I personally think that the Japanese national characters such as commitment, diligence, and strong sense of responsibility are factors that brought the high survival rate.

Meanwhile, in our other reforestation projects, it is hard to meet someone like Mr. Kouichi Sasaki, Field Manager at the Natori project site (formerly staff of the Forestry Agency), who has severity for work and high management ability as a professional forestry expert. Moreover, the members of the “Association for the Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City” who are raising seedlings are professional agriculturists. Though lacking experience in forestry, most of them are engaged in agriculture and raising high quality vegetables. They are utilizing their agricultural experience in raising seedlings. That is why they have developed into a professional group which is not satisfied with 90% of survival rate but persistently pursues 100%.

We are upscaling good practices and intend to replicate our project within and outside Japan. The Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori now serves as a model site wherein foreign government forestry officials and our local overseas project staff are visiting and learning from the project in terms of technical know-how, commitment, and pursuing excellence. This we do to somehow give back from the support that we have been receiving. We request for your continued cooperation.

We intend to do technical transfer to somehow give back to the support from the foreign countries. We request for your continued support.

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Organization Information

OISCA International

Location: Suginami-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Ma. Grazen Acerit
Suginami-ku, Tokyo Japan
$14,208 raised of $25,000 goal
 
81 donations
$10,792 to go
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