News related to impact left behind by the Great Northeastern Tsunami and Earthquake...
Half of all trees re-planted by Forestry Agency project last autumn dead or dying
Half of the 11,000 pine tree saplings planted by the Sendai Forestry Management Office in November last year in response to the destruction of national forest in the Wakabayashi ward of Arahama by the March 2011 tsunami are believed to be dying. It is thought that sands blown up in strong winds during the spring months this year are mainly to blame, according the agency, who are planning to replace the lost trees. However, there has been some concern among local residents regarding this regeneration that the saplings are not being properly looked after.
This forest regeneration plan has so far cost over 340 million yen and forms one part of a Japanese National Forestry Agency project to protect the coast against future tsunamis via a natural flood defence system. This system consists of a 140km long wall of trees, stretching southwards from Aomori to Chiba Prefecture. The saplings that were lost formed part of this system which covered 2 hectares of the 84-hectare national forest.
According the Sendai agency, the cause of the deterioration was March’s strong winds blowing sand into the air, hitting the leaves of the young trees, followed by droughts throughout May. A 876 panel log fence built to protect against possible wind damage appears to have been ineffectual.
The Sendai Forestry Management Agency’s head of forestry technology, Eiji Shinoka (50) said that “after the rainy season there should be a few trees that recover. It’s unfortunate that some saplings have withered but we will just have to re-plant them.It takes over a hundred years to raise these trees so I hope they can be looked after and protected correctly”.
Close to this area and within the boundaries of the national forest, a group of 14 NPO’s and businesses have also planted a further 10,800 pine and oak trees on a 3-hectare embankment but people involved reportthat these trees have not suffered the same degree of damage.
“Even along the windswept coastline there are many big, strong trees that we have seen grow naturally all the way from pine cones. Couldn’t there be an inadequacy in the management of the agency’s trees?” says Yoshiko Sato (51) a member of the Arahama Regeneration Group with more than a hint of doubt. “I will feel that this town has completely recovered only when the scenery eventually returns to normal. Therefore I want these trees that have been planted to be cared for with the upmost importance”, she added.