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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 12, pp 3107–3129 | Cite as

Sustainable management of planted landscapes: lessons from Japan

  • Yuichi YamauraEmail author
  • Hiroyasu Oka
  • Hisatomo Taki
  • Kenichi Ozaki
  • Hiroshi Tanaka
Original Paper

Abstract

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. 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. 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.

Keywords

Economic marginalization Forest planning Forest restoration Forest-use history Overplanted forests Planted forest expansion Retention of natural forests 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank H. Tojo for providing information on bird species richness, Y. Uenishi for providing wood statistics, Secretariat of the Ecological Society of Japan (ESJ) and T. Takada for allowing the use of the ESJ membership. We also thank T. Amano, T. Inoue, H. Kakizawa, J. Morimoto, F. Nakamura, M. Rubiner, S. Sato, Y. Shoji, S. Sugiura, S. Yamamoto, and M. Yui for providing valuable comments on this study. We gratefully acknowledge the two reviewers and the editors, I. Perfecto and J. Vandermeer, for providing helpful comments on an earlier draft. Y. Yamaura was partially supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists B no. 23780153). H. Tanaka was supported by the Research and Development Projects for Application in Promoting a New Policy of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan and by Research Grant No. 201103 (G2P08) of the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuichi Yamaura
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroyasu Oka
    • 2
  • Hisatomo Taki
    • 3
  • Kenichi Ozaki
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Tanaka
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Resources, Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversityHokkaidoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Forest Policy and EconomicsForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Forest EntomologyForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  4. 4.Hokkaido Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteSapporo, HokkaidoJapan
  5. 5.Department of Forest VegetationForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukuba, IbarakiJapan

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