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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 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.
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.

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.

Every year, there are a great number of Japanese and foreigner visitors who come to OISCA Coastal Forest Restoration Project site located on the coastal area of Natori City. Among them, there is one group of foreigners who are quite different from the other visitors. They are all government specialists in forestry administration and disaster risk reduction and management in their respective countries. They are invited by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for 3-weeks study program entitled “Ecosystem-based Solution for Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR)” consisting of class room lectures and on-site tours in various parts of Japan.

There are of course many other disaster-hit areas in Tohoku Region where the national government, local government bodies and citizens’ groups are actively conducting tree-planting and promoting various measures for reducing disaster risk and mitigating damage. But why OISCA project has been chosen for their on-site tour? I personally assume it is because OISCA is the only NGO which is successfully implementing an integrated approach starting from fund-raising, seedling production, tree planting and up to post-planting maintenance and management of the site. It has been made possible by generous financial support from many private companies and organizations including the Global Giving.

On September 26, 7 officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Iraq, Myanmar, Thailand, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Vietnam came over to the Natori site on a half-day observation tour. Earlier in the morning, they visited the ruins of Arahama Elementary School in Sendai City which was devastated by the tsunami disaster in March 2011 and fully realized the immense destructive power of the natural calamity.

After arriving in Natori, the group first went up to the coastal disaster embankment to have the whole view of the OISCA reforestation site. It was a sunny day. Looking at the calm sea, they could not simply believe that the unprecedented scale of tidal waves swept through the entire area wiping out the original seashore forest and nearby community. Mr. Toshimichi Yoshida, Director for Coastal Forest Restoration Project, gave a general briefing on the project. He told that the project was originally conceived just a few days following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster. Looking out over the disaster-affected area on a helicopter, he thought that it would be possible for OISCA to utilize in one way or another the rich experiences and expertise previously gained in other projects overseas for restoring the destroyed coastal forest in Natori. He emphasized the salient features of the project, specifically the production of 500,000 black pine seedlings by disaster-hit local farmers, creation of job opportunities for the local community, active participation of Japanese and foreign volunteers in the field work such as tree planting and weeding, close collaboration with the public sector and full utilization of private fund.

Then, the group visited the OISCA nursery where the members of the Association for the Restoration of Coastal Forest in Natori City, an organization formed by the disaster victim farmers, have been raising in pots black pine and red pine species. Mr. Koichi Sasaki who is responsible for the overall field operations of the project explained about seed sowing since March 2012 and the subsequent production of seedlings and actual planting at the site since 2014. When he revealed that on the average the germination rate marked 95% and the survival rate of the planted seedlings recorded 98%, respectively, the visiting specialists all showed a big surprise reaction. They commented that normally, if the figures were something like 60%, it would be quite satisfactory.

Finally, they moved to the planting site where by June 2018, a total of 346,248 black pine seedlings were planted over an area of 66.71 hectares. In a Q & A session following the field observation, a participant from Bosnia and Herzegovina raised a question about the appropriates of planting only black pine species citing the statement of a lecturer of the JICA-organized class room lecture to the effect that it would be advisable to carry out mixed planting of black pine and broad-leaved species for coastal forestation. Mr. Sasaki replied; “Under the extremely severe natural conditions of the coastal areas, it has been proven by experience that only black pine species can take firm roots and manage to survive.” To follow up his explanation, he brought the group to a planting area located just adjacent to the OISCA site where another NPO planted a combination of black pines and broad-leaved species of trees. They clearly noticed the poor growth condition of the broad-leaved seedlings while the black pine species were showing normal growth.

To conclude the on-site tour, they were asked for personal impressions and observations. The participants unanimously expressed deep admiration that the 10-year project is entirely financed by donations and subsidies from private companies and organizations as well as individual supporters without depending on government money at all. Also, they were impressed that the planted seedlings are well maintained by the hands of professional forestry workers and volunteers. We are always appreciative for the continued and generous support from the Global Giving.

Following the devastating damage to the Natori City coastal area in Miyagi Prefecture from a massive tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earth of March 2011, OISCA joined forces with a group of local victims to begin a coastal forest restoration project. Under that initiative, now in its eight year, through the end of May of this year, the area on which black pines and other tree species have been planted had reached 66.71 hectares.

One step ahead of the global trend to earmark priority budgets for disaster prevention and damage control, OISCA has long worked through mangrove planting, coral reef protection and other endeavors with such goals keenly in mind, primarily in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The Natori project is also rooted in the experience and lessons emerging from these track records.

Successful schemes in this pattern are characterized by:

  1. Close collaboration with national and regional governments
  2. Adoption of the resident-citizen participation format; and
  3. Consignment of work to professional forestation operators to help create jobs and other key points.

OISCA has been autonomously carrying out the project with donations and subsidies from private companies, organizations and individual supporters.

The actual tree-planting phase of this effort will conclude in 2020. OISCA, however, is determined to carry on the necessary weeding, cutting and other vital forest support and nurturing work as well.

Thanks to the generous support from, not only the Japanese but also a great number of people worldwide, including the Global Giving donors. We are deeply grateful for the donations. We do request for your continued cooperation.

 

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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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