Biodiversity Conservation through Wakayama Forest Environment Conservation Activities ("Shining Forest") Biodiversity Conservation through Wakayama Forest Environment Conservation Activities ("Shining Forest")
NTT West Wakayama Branch has been taking part in the "Corporate Forest" project, a forest environment conservation activity which was first launched in Japan by Wakayama Prefecture in 2002.
"Corporate Forest" is a generic name for the different forest environment conservation projects by companies and groups within the prefecture, such as cultivation of natural forests, as part of the social and environmental contribution activities as well as interaction activities with the local communities.
Employees were invited to name this activity, which was later given the name "Shining Forest," meaning "to shine with the Hikari services and to brighten the entire surroundings with light." We signed a forest conservation and management agreement with Wakayama Prefecture and Tanabe City to cultivate forests including broad-leaved trees for a period of 10 years from February 2008.
Ever since, employees of NTT West Wakayama Group and their family members have been engaging in undergrowth weeding and thinning activities, and we have contributed to conserving biodiversity with a total of approximately 900 participants taking part in the forest conservation activities over 10 years.
In January 2010, Wakayama Prefecture was accredited for "helping to absorb an anticipated amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to approximately 400 CO2 tons/100 years through the forest conservation activities." Marking the 10th anniversary of the endeavor this year, a decision has been made to extend the activities for another decade starting from FY 2018, and a tripartite agreement on "forest conservation and management" was signed in February 2018.
NTT West Wakayama Group holds a thinning activity at the "Shining Forest" located in Ryujin-mura of Tanabe City as part of the forest environment conservation efforts under the "Corporate Forest" project promoted by Wakayama Prefecture.
As with past years, employees of Wakayama Group and their family members as well as retired employees took part in the thinning activity last year to maintain the forest.
At the activity in 2018, log-cutting games and woodwork lessons for making items such as wooden rakes and pen stands were conducted for kindergarten and elementary school students. It was a valuable opportunity for the children to come into direct contact with wood and gain a renewed understanding of the importance of forests.
As we are beginning to see the same participants taking part in the activity 10 years since it first started, we have conducted environmental protection education again for our employees for them to understand the importance of this activity so as to attract more new participants.
NTT West Wakayama Group will continue to actively participate in and promote the "Shining Forest" activities together with the local people as a symbol of the efforts by the local community to conserve the environment.
Comments by Head of Ryujin-mura Forest Owners' Cooperative
Ryujin-mura Forest Owners' Cooperative
Timber industry, which is our bread and butter, has been going through a rough time due to factors such as low wood prices. We began to see cases where reforestation and forest cultivation by the forest owners alone were impossible after cutting down the trees. One of the measures to address this issue is to get support from the companies in the local community through the prefecture to maintain the forest through the "Corporate Forest" project.
I would like to thank everyone at NTT West for their activities in the "Shining Forest." A large number of participants who were not used to working on steep slopes helped us to plant trees using hoes, weed undergrowth using sickles, and conduct thinning using saws at the neighboring forest owned by the city.
While some trees have grown steadily beyond a height of 3m, there were also cases of damages caused by deer as well as many areas with poor growth during the process, and we felt sorry that the participants had to replant the trees on many occasions.
We understand that NTT West will continue to take part in the "Shining Forest" project. We will strive to help the participants gain a deeper understanding of life in the mountains as well as forestry while enjoying the forest maintenance works and hands-on experiences. We look forward to your longstanding support.
Voices of Our Staff
"Shining Forest" Forest Environment Conservation Activity
NTT Business Associe West
As part of the forest environment conservation efforts under the "Corporate Forest" project promoted by Wakayama Prefecture, NTT West Wakayama Group holds undergrowth weeding and thinning activities to conserve the environment at the "Shining Forest" located in Ryujin-mura of Tanabe City.
The project first started with an open invitation to name the forest before deciding to adopt "Shining Forest" as the name. In conjunction with preparing 2,000 trees to be planted and implementing pest control measures, employees were also invited to participate in the tree-planting work. The first round of activity attracted more than 100 applicants who are employees or their family members. About 70 to 80 participants took part in the undergrowth weeding and other activities each time in the subsequent rounds, which were held in June every year under the hot sun. In February this year, which marked the 10th anniversary of the effort, Wakayama Group has decided to extend its participation for another 10 years.
NTT West Wakayama Group is in charge of managing the "Shining Forest," which has a total area of approximately 3.28ha. It is divided into an area for planting trees such as cherry, maple and oak as well as weeding undergrowth, while the area where conservation activities such as thinning and branch pruning are carried out currently has about 1,800 trees including Japanese cypress and Japanese cedar. A total of about 1,000 participants took part in the activities held in the past 10 years. This May, which is the 11th year of our participation, we carried out thinning for the first time in 10 years and challenged cutting down Japanese cypress and cedar trees with a trunk diameter of about 20cm. We spent about two hours to cut down trees on a steep slope using a saw, an experience that was totally different from our everyday life. We were not familiar with the tasks and were drenched in sweat as we struggled with the process. Our effort was published on a newspaper on the same day, which helped to raise our profile among the local community.
Following the decision to extend the activity by another 10 years, we will continue to introduce continuous activities.