Sustainable Management of Forests

Policy Direction for Sustainable Forest Management in Japan and its related international cooperation activities in China

Fusho Ozawa PhD., President, Japan Overseas Forestry Consultants Association

Forest Dialog Forum, 3-4 August 2005 Beijing China 



It is very impressive when the Japanese Islands are looked at from the sky; the entire Japanese Islands are covered by rich forests.

However, when it gets on the ground once, and the forests are seen closely, one finds that there are overly dense forests because the maintenance of thinning etc. is insufficient 

In addition, when one enters forests, one finds that there are many cases of unsound forest management, which results in  insufficient growth and increase of soil erosion.

The difficulty of the forestry in Japan includes the population flow-out from villages of mountainous areas, aging of private forest owners and increasing cases that they live outside the villages.

Besides, such problems as decrease in wooden houses construction and increasing costs of various forestry as well as processing/marketing of forest products are to be noted.

On the other hand, regarding the peoples expectation for the forests, there exists unchangeable expectations for the roles of forests for national lands conservation and water sources enrichment and the expectation has newly risen regarding the function of the greenhouse gas sink role of the forests in relation to global warming mitigation.

Under the aforementioned situation, the Basic Law of Forest and Forestry was promulgated in June 2001, replacing the Basic Law of the Forestry.

The Basic Law of Forest and Forestry and its Implementation

(The Principle and main contents of the Law)

 The principle of the Basic law of Forest and Forestry is demonstrating multiple functions that the forest possesses and sound development of forestry.

In the new Basic Law, it is stipulated that the forests are to be properly managed and maintained so that multiple functions of

forests such as conservation of the national lands, water source enrichment and natural environment conservation,   public's  health serving function, prevention of global warming, and supply of forest products and etc. are realized.

It is assumed in the Law that promoting the use of forest products and development of forestry are indispensable for securing multiple functions of the forests.

The Law stipulates duties of relevant parties.

The Law stipulates that formulation of policy and measures and implementation of them are Central Government duties; it also   stipulates the local Governments duties.

The Law stipulates that the national forests are to be managed based on the formulation of the management guideline for  contribution to public benefits functions and supply of forest products, and forest industry promotion in each  region.

The Law also stipulates the duties of private forest owners and  the effort to be made by the forestry workers and so on.

Multi storied forests in Japan, Shikoku Imabari

Multi storied forest in Tokyo Takaosan National Forest

(Exerting multiple functions of forests under the Law)

Promotion of forest consolidation, forest conservation,  technology development measure concerning demonstrating multiple functions of the forest, promotion of resettlement in  villages in mountainous regions, the promotion of peoples  voluntary activities, urban and rural areas interchange, and international cooperation are stipulated for facilitating exertion of multiple functions of forests.

If the forests are not made best use of them, the fact that the Japanese Islands are covered with green does not have much   significance.

(Three types of forests categorized under the Law)

There was a situation in which the role of the forest was not clearly understood easily because the multiple functions   of forests often overlapped.

Under the forest and forestry fundamental plan based on the Law, forests are boldly categorized in three types, i.e., "Water and soil conservation forests", "Symbiosis forests with peoples lives", and "Forests for recycling use of resources".

Task now is to induce forests into better forest management in each category.

In this regard, promoting multi storied forest management is to be promoted, transforming changing from single storey forest.

(Contribution to mitigation of global warming)

In the forest and forestry fundamental plan, promotion of afforestation on abandoned farm lands, and appropriate forest management are specified to keep the carbon sink function of forests.

It is to be noted that 3.9 percent of the greenhouse gas reduction of the target of 6 percent for Japan (against the base figure of 1990) are to be met by forests.

It is also to be noted that artificial, additional activities must be exercised in meeting the target figure, by conducting such forest related activities as consolidation and management of forests.

My Comments on the new Forestry Policy Implementation

Whether actual implementation of policies based on the new Basic Law of Forest and Forestry could be smoothly done or not could be assessed by the degree that the real problems would be solved.

A resolute challenge that suits the principle of the Fundamental Law is necessary.

The governments administrative move, the awareness change of the various stakeholders and their changed actions, and the degree of opening of the road for the peoples popular participation, are very important.

It would be instrumental whether the broadening of the government administrative measures could meet the expectations from the view point of globalization.

(Valuable examples)

Followings are valuable examples to be noted:

Forest crisis management in Europe

The European forests suffered great damages by storms recent years, (in 1990; in Germany,; In 1999; in France, Germany, Switzerland;).

The prompt restoration actions were done, resulted in processing the damaged trees in a few years. The measures of reducing  ordinary harvesting to facilitate processing damaged trees as a  priority were adopted. These measures taken are good examples of the forest crisis management.

Chinese initiatives

The Chinese Government policy, which is as follows, is highly valued.

Clarification of policy direction and promotion of extremely large scale afforestation by the Government of China by setting up 6 large programs, i.e., the Natural Forest Protection Program, the Three North Shelterbelt Development and the Yangtze River Watershed Conservation Program, the Conversion Program from Cropland to Forest and Grassland, the Sandification Control Program for Areas in the Vicinity of Beijing, the Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Development Program, and the Forest Industrial Base Development Program in key Regions with a Focus on FastGrowing and HighYield Timber Plantations.

Local wood use movement in Japan

Recently, the local wood use movement has started in various places, although still in small scale, by some stakeholders and interested parties in Japan.

The movement to construct wooden schoolhouses has also started  at various places.

Wooden schoolhouse in Nagano Prefecture Japan

Change of Peoples expectations for forests

What people want to get from forests is charging rapidly in Japan; it includes peaceful / resourceful mind feeling, ecological life style and contribution to mitigating of the global warming.  

It is hoped that forested areas and wood biomass energy use should be expanded, recycling use wood factories should be expanded, versatile forestry technicians training facilities should be expanded, and environment to accept volunteers into forests  more easily has to be expanded in order to meet the peoples expectations.

It is also hoped that policy measures to separate forest owner ship and forest management would be materialized to promote forest management individuals and the groups.

Cases with which I am Engaging

Canada advocates the Model Forest as a mechanism that the entire community participates in sustainable forest  management.  It is worth paying due attention to the Model Forest movement that is being extended to all parts of the world.

Kyoto Prefecture of Japan is in an advanced stage in preparation for launching of Kyoto Model Forest, and I am as Councilor to Kyoto Prefecture Government, giving advice to Kyoto Prefecture, while receiving the cooperation from the Model Forest International Network of Canada, for which Mr. Peter Besseau is SecretaryGeneral.(November 2006 Kyoto Model Forest launched)

It is important to promote handson activities in various places to decrease the number of bystanders and to increase the number of action oriented doers.

Therefore, I started this year the forest environment doers school, this year we started activity to produce bamboo charcoal utilizing bamboo groves seen everywhere in Japan

International Cooperation

Recently, preventing illegal logging is vigorously advocated world wide.
International cooperation is necessary on this matter.

The fact that the development of ecotourism in Costa Rica and Yunnan Province in China puts the brake on the disorderly forest development should be highly valued in this regard.   Introduction of the forest certification and the wood certification are to be noted, too. 

It goes without saying that promoting the sustainable forest management globally through international cooperation is crucially important.  

I introduce, under such thinking of mine, the following cases of international forestry cooperation between China and Japan

An afforestation project in Ningxiahuizhu Autonomous Region; it started from the experimental stage and enlarged into Japanese Grant Aid Afforestation Project.

Progress of desertification in Ningxia


NInxia, extraction of salinity

Grant aid afforestation, quadrangle sand stop by straw

Grant aid afforestation,

Japan-China cooperation experimental plantation in Ninxia

Japanese grant aid afforestation project in Shanxi Province.

Loess plateau and erosion

Horizontal ditch (over there) and fish scale hole (this side)

Horizontal ditch

Planting in horizontal ditch

Success planting in Shanxi, planted 2004, taken photo 2007

An environmental afforestation project in Nei Mongol  Autonomous Region (Japan China greening exchange funds project)

Grassland in Nei Mongol, desertification is progressing

Planting trees inwinter by Japanese NPO, in November, temperature about -10℃

Monument of China-Japan amicability


For recovering the lost forest throughout the world, and for realizing enough supply of water and for prevention of global warming, promoting afforestation and nurturing of talented human power are indispensable.

Internationally therefore, it is very important to do mutual  exchange both in  information and in human terms actively.

In Japan it is to be emphasized that incessant effort should be done to win the public’s understanding and support about forest management.

For this, stakeholders and interested parties should have clear idea and intention to contribute to social development and environmental conservation through forest management.

I wish to name this type of forest management “ProSocial Forest Management. I would continue to play my role in realization of this.

It would be greatly appreciated if my presentation would be of some use to the participants to stimulate the thinking for better forest management in China and in the World.



zh?ng guo yan y?qian ren z?i shuhou ren cheng liang」,shi w? zui x? huan de yi ju hua

qi yi siw? xi?ng zh? wei d?u/d? ming baiy? k? xi?o shu yao j?ng guo h?n chang/zh?ng de sui yue cai neng zh?ng cheng c?n ti?n da shusu? y? x? yao fu ch? chang q? de n? li

Thank you very much.