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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
The seedlings partially covered with snow.
The seedlings partially covered with snow.

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.

In Japan, we are now in the winter season, and snow is piling up in the disaster-hit area. Despite the snow, the 130,000 black pine trees planted at the project site are steadily growing. We can see some of the seedlings planted in 2014 have grown over 1 meter in height. At the nursery, 130,000 new seedlings are enduring the cold weather eagerly waiting for spring. Various animals which disappeared after the disaster are now returning. On the snow, we see the footprints of animals such as cats, raccoon dogs and birds. On the surface, we have the impression that under the extreme weather condition, it is difficult for the planted seedlings to grow. But when we observed closely, we noticed that they are growing steadily. 

 March 11, 2016 marks the 5th anniversary of the disaster. The disaster-affected local people have all different feelings and perceptions. It is unfortunate that the farther the distance from the disaster-hit area, we find that the memories have been weakening and that the number of those who are forgetting is growing. Against this backdrop, we have to seriously think about, not only making the project successful, but as to how we can preserve the memories of the disaster, how we can best manage the forest after completing tree planting and how to inform the public of the importance of the coastal forest.

The disaster-hit local farmers involved in the project are working hard with the strong belief that restoring the coastal forest is not for them but for their children and grand children. The local people who are directly involved with the project expect that the planted black pine seedlings will grow and will serve as natural protection against strong winds, salt damage and blown sand from the sea coast.

 We, on our part, also intend to involve the locals of Natori City in implementing the project so that they will feel like they are managing it by themselves.

Thank you again for your generous support and I am hoping for your continued cooperation. 

Locals of Natori City visiting the project nursery
Locals of Natori City visiting the project nursery
Footprints of birds in the planting site.
Footprints of birds in the planting site.
A Japanese newspaper featuring Mr. Mori`s efforts
A Japanese newspaper featuring Mr. Mori`s efforts

To the Supporters of our Project in Tohoku, Japan

 “I have noticed that despite all the rubbles and debris, the stars were shining like diamonds the night after the tsunami” was the answer of Mr. Mori (72) when asked what he remembers on the day of March 11, 2011 catastrophe. Mr. Mori, a widower whose wife was one of the thousands of victims engulfed by the raging tsunami, is one of the members of the Association for the Coastal Restoration Project in Natori and a project beneficiary. He added that at that night, perhaps his wife Mrs. Tomiko is one of those stars guiding him through the night.

The shock of losing his loved one, haunted by guilt of surpassing death and the uncertainty about the future led to Mr. Mori`s depression. In February 2012, almost a year after the tsunami, Mr. Otomo (Association`s Vice-President) encouraged him to be part of the project. Since then Mr. Mori has been working with the other tsunami survivors particularly in the seedling production and sometimes in guiding volunteers who are helping in the maintenance of the nursery.

“I feel grateful to the project since it is helping me find new purpose in life. Since I am working with the people whom I have known since I was a kid, communication is not difficult and work here is a lot of fun”, were Mr. Mori`s comments about the project.

Because of the former coastal forest, the sea seemed so far and Mr. Mori did not expect that tsunami will reach his house which is about 2 km away from the seashore. As the tsunami uprooted and wiped out the former vegetation, the sea seams so near and he is constantly in fear that big waves will come and cause much bigger destruction.

In 10 years, Mr. Mori is looking forward to seeing the growth of the seedlings planted along the coastlines of Natori City. While eating their favorite rice balls, Mr. Mori and his friends will surely be reminiscing the happy moments that they have shared while raising the seedlings.

On behalf of his family and friends who are benefitting from the project, Mr. Mori is wishing to extend his heartfelt gratitude to supporters and to the donors of Global Giving.

Mr. Mori and his peers in the project`s nursery.
Mr. Mori and his peers in the project`s nursery.
Watering of the seedlings prior to transplanting.
Watering of the seedlings prior to transplanting.
Project site maintenance with the volunteers.
Project site maintenance with the volunteers.

My name is Toshimichi Yoshida. I am Deputy Director in charge of the 10-Year Coastal Forest Restoration Project in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture which OISCA launched immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011.

 I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who have generously supported our Project following the disaster.  Here, I am going to report on the latest development of the Project.

 In the disaster-hit area, it is now in midsummer with the daily temperature exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. It has been 4 and half years since the disaster, but we can still hear the sound of heavy machineries operating from the early morning and see many people working for the disaster recovery project under the scorching heat of the sun.

 In May 2011, the disaster-affected farmers in Natori appealed to OISCA for helping in the restoration of the coastal forest indispensable for the revival of agriculture. OISCA and the local farmers have steadily been carrying out the Project in collaboration with the national and local government agencies, a large number of local residents and also volunteers from the various parts of the country.

 The years up to 2020, the year in which the Tokyo Olympics will be held, are the target period set by the government for achieving the disaster recovery. In our Project, the local farmers by themselves will produce 500,000 seedlings necessary for restoring 100 hectares of forest, and we plan to complete tree planting by 2020 but will continue the forest management up until 2033. In implementing the Project, we have decided, not to depend on public fund but to utilize private donations putting emphasis on self-reliant efforts. We intend to support the local employment and livelihood improvement by creating over 11,000 job opportunities in the area by 2033.

 In March 2012, the OISCA staff and local farmers obtained qualifications in accordance with the law on raising seedlings, and conducted the first sowing of black pine seeds. In April 2014, we carried out the first planting of 80,000 seedlings raised over the previous two years and in April, 2015, also planted 50,000 new seedlings. So far, we have planted a total of 130,000 seedlings over 26 hectares of land in the two years. Although the project site is in the severe environment, right behind the tide embankment which is exposed to the sea breeze, dry and cold wind, the survival rate of seedlings is fortunately maintained almost 100%.

 We have created 1,400 employment opportunities a year, and the number of volunteers who do weeding work for 8 hours a day has marked 1,400 persons. We have annually organized 30 report meetings and seminars, and more than 4,500 people have attended.

 Both the government and the private sector have been working very hard for the disaster recovery based on the overall recovery plan. But there are a number of areas which are not recovering as have been expected. There are such problems as a serious shortage of skilled personnel, soaring labor costs and lack of construction materials.

 Furthermore, there are now noticeable disparities of lifestyle between those who have been hit by the disaster and those who have not been affected, and between those who moved to new houses leaving temporary housing facilities and those who are still staying at temporary shelters. The traditional communities have collapsed, and those economically vulnerable such as elderly people are particularly isolated in the society. The locals all have the same feeling for recovery, but the actual situation is not simple at all.

 Many of those who survived in the devastating tsunami still do not feel like going to the seaside. I know a number of people who have abstained from their favorite fishing in the sea.

 Against this background, we are determined to accomplish the restoration of coastal forest, the old Japanese crystal of wisdom, which protects agriculture and living from the sea breeze, thereby playing a part in the creative recovery of the Tohoku Region.

 We will make the Project a success by all means.

 Once again, we thank you for your cooperation and are requesting anew for your continued support. 

Project site monitoring.
Project site monitoring.
Volunteers making canal for good drainage
Volunteers making canal for good drainage
Seedling planted in 2014 is now 1.15 m tall.
Seedling planted in 2014 is now 1.15 m tall.
Forest workers during the tree planting activities
Forest workers during the tree planting activities

OISCA and the tsunami survivors wish to extend our deepest and sincerest gratitude to the donors who have helped materialized the reforestation activities along the coastline of Natori City in Miyagi, Japan which was damaged by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

 Last year, we have successfully covered an area of 15.67 hectares with 80,182 black pine seedlings; employed 1,402 tsunami survivors and forest workers; mobilized 1,500 volunteers; and educated 5,000 people through the organized symposiums and photo exhibits.

Based on the conducted monitoring and evaluation by our forest experts, the survival rate of the planted seedlings is 98.4% attributed from having a good weather, careful planning prior to the actual tree planting activities as well as the expertise and strong commitment of the people who are involved into the project.

This year, we intend to maintain and even surpass the survival rate of last year`s tree planting activities. With the help of tsunami survivors, 90,000 pieces of black pine seeds were sown and scheduled to be transplanted in the project site in two years. A total of 49,822 black pine seedlings were planted in 9.74 hectares while less than 500 broad leaf species of seedlings were also planted by volunteers. We are also maintaining the 130,000 black pine seedlings grown in our two nurseries to be transplanted next year.

Meanwhile, the organization`s efforts in the disaster recovery work is now gradually recognized within and outside Japan as manifested by the “Good Life Award” from the Ministry of Environment and “Japan Resilience Award” from the Association for Resilience Japan during the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) which was held from March 14 to 18 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.

In the span of 10 years, we intend to rehabilitate a total of 100 hectares of coastal forest. Considered as a green infrastructure project due to its scope, timeline and objective to establish a natural barrier to help mitigate the impact of natural disasters; OISCA needs to raise a total of 12,000,000 USD to guarantee the successful implementation of the project. So far we have raised only 30% of the total budget and we are still working on massive lobbying to gain support and assistance in any form from various sectors of society. 

Tsunami survivors while hauling the seedlings.
Tsunami survivors while hauling the seedlings.
tsunami survivors sowing black pine seeds.
tsunami survivors sowing black pine seeds.
Volunteers help in the project
Volunteers help in the project
Black pine seedlings in the container pots
Black pine seedlings in the container pots
OISCA representative receiving the Good Life Award
OISCA representative receiving the Good Life Award
volunteers helping in the project maintenance.
volunteers helping in the project maintenance.

To our dear friends worldwide,

Our life changed drastically due to the tsunami at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. We were living in a coastal village named Kitakama, located in the east of Sendai Airport, in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. About 400 people, mostly farmers, were living in 100 residential houses. 55 residents lost their lives in the tsunami disaster. We lost all of a sudden our living just in one day.

Under such a situation, we were completely at a loss. In May 2011, staff of OISCA came to visit Natori for an on-site survey of possible restoration of the damaged seashore forest.

Through its long experience of carrying out worldwide activities, OISCA recognized the important role of seashore forests in fighting against natural disasters, for windbreak and prevention of flying sands and tidal waves. Together with us, OISCA launched a project to plant 500,000 black pine trees in an area covering 100 hectares to restore the damaged coastal forest.

Through the twists and turns, we held a tree-planting ceremony in May 2014 and planted about 80,000 black pine seedlings said to be resistant to insects over 15-hectare land. In spite of the severe coastal environment where salty wind constantly blows, the seedlings have been steadily growing thanks to the dedicated efforts of the disaster-affected farmers.

Before the disaster, Kitakama was a melon and Chinese cabbage (qing-geng-cai) producing area. The coastal forest also protects agricultural crops from the cold sea breeze. Since it was started to plant trees for the restoration of the coastal forest indispensable for agriculture, there has been a new momentum for the renaissance of agricultural crop producing area. The improvement and development work of the adjacent agricultural land has made progress and about 300 units of green houses were built. We can finally see a bright light in the development of new infrastructure for our living. This year, we are going to start making preparations for vegetable production.

The Coastal Forest Restoration Project is not only limited to the restoration of the “hardware and functions” such as the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters, salty wind, wind-blown sands and tidal waves, but will also significantly contribute to the restoration of the “heart and mind” to rebuild our community with our own hands.

This is the 4th year since the Coastal Forest Restoration Project was implemented. But black pine trees do not grow in a brief space of time, and sustained efforts are required for a long time to come. We are firmly determined to work very hard for restoring “beautiful stretch of sandy beach dotted with green pine trees”.

We strongly request for your continued support for and participation in our Project.

Eiji Suzuki
President
Association for Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City

Aerial view of the project.
Aerial view of the project.
The local farmers are now growing vegetables.
The local farmers are now growing vegetables.
Suzuki Eiji showing the tsunami damage.
Suzuki Eiji showing the tsunami damage.
 

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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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