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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
Aerial picture of the planting site.
Aerial picture of the planting site.

It has been 6 years since the Coastal Forest Restoration Project started in 2011. With the generous support of many people worldwide, including the Global Giving donors, we have finished 75% of the tree planting work over 65 hectares. As of the end of April 2017, we have raised the 53% of our target budget of 12 million dollars. Here, we would like to express our deep gratitude to a great number of donors all over the world.

The Japanese Government announced on April 28 the recipients of the “1st Infrastructure Maintenance Grand Award” newly established to commend groups and individuals who carried out outstanding approaches and technological development related to the infrastructural maintenance. From among 248 applicants nationwide, the OISCA project was selected as one of the awardees of the “Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award”. We believe that our project was highly valued for having garnered strong support from private corporations, organizations and individuals and also for active participation of thousands of volunteers yearly in the field work. We take pride and gained confidence in the appreciation by the national government. We think that all the stakeholders as a whole received this prestigious award.

On May 20, the “4th Tree Planting Ceremony” was held at the project site in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and a total of 530 people ranging from the age of 2 years to 85 years took part. Although there are many supporters both at home and overseas who want to plant trees on site, those who live in Miyagi Prefecture were given priority because we think that it is the locals who would protect and develop the coastal forest in the future, and we would like to make the forest to be loved by the locals.

Meanwhile, during the initial stages of the project, we have been exploring ways to involve the youths but we could not get exemplary results. However, last January, the principal of Natori Kita Senior High School, a school several km away from the planting site, requested OISCA to make remarkable speech to the students about the disaster. Toshimichi Yoshida, Project Manager of OISCA mentioned about the following “You may help us once a year or once in three years. When you feel like doing something, please do give us a helping hand. The power of one person is small, but we want to increase the number of those who would like to utilize their power.” Two months later, 100 students joined the tree planting ceremony

“Although it was my first time to participate in volunteer activities with such a large number of people, I have felt that the atmosphere is good and have fully realized the tremendous power of the people who gathered for one future. I want to unite the wish of many people and turn into a greater power for one goal”, commented by one of the volunteer students.

Another participant said: “I have realized for the first time that tree planting activity is not just planting trees but the subsequent caring work is very important.”

The maintenance work after planting trees is crucial. We would like to request for your continued support until the donations reach the targeted amount of one billion yen.

High School students planting seedlings
High School students planting seedlings
100 students after the tree planting activity
100 students after the tree planting activity
Involvement with the actual tree planting
Involvement with the actual tree planting

My absolute favorite NGO is OISCA. The focus of this organization is to rebuild forests worldwide. In that way communities devastated by wars or natural disasters can get their feet back on the ground and eventually thrive. Because of this noble purpose, wherever there is a need, when asked, OISCA is happy to offer its expertise.

I first met OISCA completely by chance. It was soon after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. I was rushing through Sendai Station on my way home from work. Unexpectedly, a stunning photo of a tree seedling caught my eye. That baby tree, with its life-promising gentleness, touched me deeply. So, I stopped and soon became immersed in images of OISCA’s fine work, both here in Tohoku and elsewhere.

OISCA is special because it works very closely with locals. Its personnel realize local inhabitants know their area better than anyone. In fact, OISCA members believe locals are the experts, and they (OISCA) are there to lend a hand.

OISCA personnel start by respectfully asking permission to assist in places needing help. From there they meet with locals, listen, learn, and work closely together as a team.

Another way that OISCA is special is the attentive care it gives to trees both before and after planting. Seedlings are kept in green houses and patiently attended to, given just the right amount of water, sunlight, and time before planting. Once in the earth, the trees are protected and nurtured with TLC. (Tender Loving Care) Soon the trees grow bigger, becoming strong, healthy and proud. In fact, more than 95% of OISCA trees survive.

One of the happiest days in the entire year for me is when I am an OISCA volunteer. I love joining with friendly OISCA personnel, local farmers, and other volunteers for the yearly forest-making day along the coast of Natori, near Sendai Airport.

Everything is well planned. When we arrive, we are divided into groups, given speeches and demonstrations, and then head out to our sections to begin work. It is also very encouraging to see trees from the years before with their branches spread wide, stretching tall and happily to the sky.

It is also a real joy being outside, immerse in the rhythm of planting beside others, and knowing our work will last for hundreds of years. In fact, I love being part of that long stretch of time, knowing that future generations will benefit from what we do that day. And very importantly, I am always deeply humbled by the opportunity that I, as a foreigner, can express my gratitude to Japan, and to Life itself, in such a long-term, life-enhancing way.

Without the help of Global Giving donors, none of this would be possible. So, I bow deeply to you, too, as I express thanks from the bottom of my heart.

During the panel exhibition at Sendai Station.
During the panel exhibition at Sendai Station.
Some of the seedlings have grown into 2 meters.
Some of the seedlings have grown into 2 meters.
100% devastated Natori Coastal Forest
100% devastated Natori Coastal Forest

It will soon be 6 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. Our project for coastal forest restoration in Natori City has been warmly supported by, not to mention the Japanese, but also many people around the world through Global Giving. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your support.

With your generosity, the project has generated 1,400 employment opportunities among the disaster-hot local farmers who have the strong desire to restore their homeland. Annually, more than 2,000 volunteers come to help us work for 8 hours a day on the project site. For three years, we have been able to plant about 190,000 black pine seedlings.

The disaster-survivors have diligently worked for raising black pine seedlings while working with their own farmlands and other source of livelihood. Blessed with good weather that is conducive for farming, the survivors have managed to continue producing crops. However, in spite of this, the survivors are still struggling from resuming normal life after the disaster.

In the Tohoku Region (Northeastern Japan), 20,000 people have not been able to move to new houses yet and will be spending the year-end New Year holidays in temporary housing. All the infrastructure along the coastline were washed away, and the area looks like a wasteland. It is apparent that the restoration of coastal infrastructures so to improve the living condition of the people is lagging behind.

With regards to the coastal forest restoration, the area where tree-planting has been completed covers only 185 hectares out of the total planned area of 700 hectares in Miyagi Prefecture. Our project covers 20% of the planted area.

The year 2016 will be over soon. With your strong support, we have been able to fully work this year. Next year, we intend to plant additional 70,000 seedlings, and the area planted with black pine trees will reach 50 hectares.

Our project is aimed not only at planting and raising black pine trees. We do not want to see an increase in the number of people who just rely on the government because of the disaster. We think it is important to share with many people the self-held and self-reliant spirit for working on our own and trying to accomplish the recovery with our own hands with your kind support. 

The 26-hectare area planted in 2014 and 2015
The 26-hectare area planted in 2014 and 2015
Black pine tree 2 years after planting
Black pine tree 2 years after planting
First batch of seedlings planted in the site.
First batch of seedlings planted in the site.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those who have been continuously supporting the OISCA project through Global Giving since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and at the same time, to report on the latest situation at the project site.

Through your support, the following activities are made possible.

  • Maintaining a total of 180,000 nursery seedlings
  • Planted a total of 56,000 seedlings in the area of 11 hectares
  • Employed a total of 1,000 people
  • Mobilized 2,000 volunteers
  • Organized report meetings and promotions 30 times and attended by 5,000 people

Our efforts in the disaster recovery work is gaining support and recognition within and outside Japan. In terms of seedling production, despite being an amateur in the competition as the best seedling producer, OISCA Natori Nursery was hailed as second among the 23 nurseries within Miyagi Prefecture. In order to produce high quality seedlings, the survivors have to control the water supply, fertilizer application and the the1-year-old black pines have to be elevated above the ground to meet the ideal size of 25-35 cm height of seedlings. At least twice a year, the nursery has to be sanitized to control the spread of diseases that could affect the growth of the seedlings. At least 5 months before transplanting, container seedlings have to be spread out with a distance of 20 cm for the seedlings to have an ample amount of air and sunlight, factors that are crucial to their survival.

The scope of the project is too big that it would be impossible for us to cover without the help of the volunteers. Now that we are maintaining a total of 37 hectares planted with 190,000 black pine seedlings, and 180,000 of seedlings in our nursery, the mobilized volunteers were a big help.

Normally, black pine seedlings grow up to 60 cm a year. Since some of the first batch of seedlings have grown into 2-meter high, somehow the main goal of the project to create a natural shield to protect the community from salt-sprays and wind-blown sands is gradually being met. Apparently, the gradual recovery of coastal vegetation in Natori City leads to the gradual return of the lost biodiversity as manifested on the presence of animals like racoons, birds and others.

Within OISCA, it is important for us to maintain professionalism and often exhibit transparency, accountability and good communication so as to gain build and trust among the stakeholders. For more than 4 years of lobbying and project promotion, we still need to work hard to raise more than 45 % of the 12 million USD budget needed to implement the 10 years Coastal Reforestation Project.

Survivors during the maintenance of the nursery.
Survivors during the maintenance of the nursery.
Mushroom growing near the pine seedling.
Mushroom growing near the pine seedling.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude for your unending support to our project and to report on the latest progress in the field.

March 11, 2016 marked the 6th Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster. The disaster-hit areas seem to have returned to the normal life. Although some of the residents could not return to their former way of life either because the government prohibits them from returning for their own safety or it is their decision to not return because of trauma. Even so, they are courageously trying to move forward.

In our nursery in Natori City, for two days, more than 20 people including the members of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration comprising the disaster-hit local farmers and staff of the Miyagi Central Forestry Cooperative helped in the sowing of 100,000 black pine seeds to be planted after two years in the project site.

In May, the 3rd tree-planting ceremony was joined by 520 participants under the guidance of professional forestry workers. A total of 10,000 seedlings were planted in the area of 2 hectares mostly by the local residents of Miyagi Prefecture, including local high school and university students. We could feel the movement spreading to the younger people.

Currently, some of the seedlings planted in 2014 have grown into nearly 2 meters. It is a big surprise that the 25 cm average size of the seedlings have grown up so much in only a span of 2 years. Moreover, wild edible mushrooms Boletus subtomentosus are now appearing which is a good manifestation of the gradual restoration of the coastal project site`s biodiversity. This we attribute to the generous support of our donors, great efforts of the local farmers who have wholeheartedly raised good quality seedlings and the volunteers who came from all over the country to help in the maintenance of the planted seedlings.

The members of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration said that although they could not directly repay the supporters and volunteers for their donations and help, they want to repay them by committing to take care the planted pine seedlings.

Again, we would like to thank you for your generous support and sincerely request you for continued cooperation in the future.

The almost 2 year old pine grown into 2 meter high
The almost 2 year old pine grown into 2 meter high
Local students after the tree planting activity.
Local students after the tree planting activity.
Black pine seedling to be planted in 2018
Black pine seedling to be planted in 2018
 

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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
$14,115 raised of $25,000 goal
 
79 donations
$10,885 to go
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