Creating Forests to Reduce Tsunami Damage

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Yokohama National University professor emeritus Akira Miyawaki, who to date has planted over 40 million trees in 1,700 locations in Japan and overseas, is continuing his tree planting activities not only in Japan but also on twice monthly overseas trips.

###”After 60-plus years of local research, currently in areas inhabited by 92.8% of Japan’s population of 128 million, the remaining evergreen forests consisting of deep and straight-rooted trees including shrine forests only make up 0.6% of Japanese land.”

Iwanumi City in Miyagi Prefecture suffered tremendous damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake. To prepare for the next disaster, Miyawaki is promoting natural selection through mixed and dense planting of multiple types of trees as he advocates the creation of forests that do not require oversight. Iwanuma City has incorporated Miyawaki’s philosophy in establishing the “1,000-year Kibonooka Project” in preparation for the next disaster.

###”A big challenge was how to resurrect the areas affected by the disaster. Given this background, we launched the “1,000-year Kibonooka Project” as something that will last forevermore into the future. One of the goals is to limit the destructive force of tsunamis, as well as to use the forest as an emergency shelter and on a regular basis as a place where children can come to learn about protecting lives. We also want to make this a memorial park that will remember the tragedy for a thousand years into the future. We encountered various limitations, but we created this project also with the goal of achieving efficient use of debris.”

Tide protection forests to date have primarily consisted of a single type of tree such as red or black pine. But shallow-rooted pine trees were uprooted by the tsunami and did not serve their purpose.

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“Creating Forests to Reduce Tsunami Damage”