Reliance on lumber imports has contributed to decline of Japan's young forests, report finds; future domestic demand for lumber, plywood, could be satisfied by 30% of country's plantation forests without imports
November 15, 2012
(Ecology, Environment & Conservation )
– Fresh data on Biodiversity are presented in a new report. According to news reporting originating from Ibaraki, Japan, by VerticalNews correspondents, research stated, "In Japan, 42 % of forests are planted forests, and most of them were established after World War II (1950-1980) to meet increased wood demands. Although Japanese planted forests are now reaching their planned harvest age, they have not been managed, and their restoration is now being discussed."
Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, "Japanese foresters have not cut their own forests, and the country's high wood demands have been met by imports during recent decades. The decline of young forests due to the stagnation of forestry activity is suggested to be partly responsible for the nation-wide decline in early-successional species, which is referred to as the 'second crisis of biodiversity.' As a timber-importing nation, it is suggested that Japan has underused the nation's own forests and has overused forests elsewhere. A revival of Japanese plantation forestry may contribute to the restoration of early-successional species because young planted forests are likely to provide suitable habitats. Furthermore, only 30 % of the current planted forests in Japan will be needed to meet the expected future domestic demand for lumber and plywood without imports. The remaining 70 % of the current planted forests may be restored to natural forests with or without harvesting."
According to the news editors, the research concluded: "The history of Japanese planted forests suggests that some natural trees/forests should be retained, even in the landscapes that specialize in wood production, because part of the planted forests may be economically marginalized in the future, and their restoration to natural forests would then be needed."
For more information on this research see: Sustainable management of planted landscapes: lessons from Japan. Biodiversity and Conservation, 2012;21(12):3107-3129. Biodiversity and Conservation can be contacted at: Springer, Van Godewijckstraat 30, 3311 Gz Dordrecht, Netherlands. (Springer - www.springer.com; Biodiversity and Conservation - www.springerlink.com/content/0960-3115/)
The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting Y. Yamaura, Forestry & Forest Prod Res Inst, Dept. of Forest Vegetat, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 3058687, Japan.
Keywords for this news article include: Asia, Japan, Ibaraki, Biodiversity
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