480 People Joined in OISCA Second Tree-planting on the Disaster-hit Natori Coast in Miyagi Prefecture
A total of 480 people took part in the tree-planting ceremony held on May 23, 2015 at the coastal area in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture which sustained devastating damage by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. This event, the second of its kind, was organized by OISCA and the Association for the Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City, a body comprising the disaster-hit local farmers, and co-sponsored by the Miyagi Prefectural Government, the Natori Municipal Government and also the Miyagi Central Forestry Cooperatives.
This year’s tree-planting event was 2 times larger than the first one regarding the area planted (2.02 hectares as against 1 hectare) and the number of seedlings planted (10,000 as against 5,000), and the number of participants increased by 37% from the previous 350 persons to 480.
The majority of the participants were local residents but also included volunteers from OISCA supporting companies and organizations and foreign residents in the region. Prior to the field work, the participants attended the opening ceremony at the project site. Mr. Isoo Sasaki, the Mayor of Natori City, gave an address emphasizing the importance of the continued tree-planting activities for the restoration of the destroyed community. Also, representatives from the Tohoku Regional Forest Office, Forestry Agency and the Miyagi Prefectural Government delivered brief speeches encouraging the participants. A group of professional forestry workers instructed the volunteer participants on how to properly plant black pine seedlings. Then all the participants were divided into 23 separate groups and started working at the assigned area.
Despite the unseasonably hot weather of nearly 30 degrees Celsius, the volunteers patiently planted seedlings which were laboriously raised by the disaster-affected local farmers at the OISCA nurseries.
Among the foreign participants, there were two Filipino young men who are currently undergoing technical intern training at a hog farm in Osaki City, the northwestern part of Miyagi Prefecture. Asked about their impressions of the event, they commented that before coming to Japan, they had experienced mangrove planting and they were very glad to help the Japanese disaster recovery with their experience.
The Coastal Forest Restoration Project is intended to rehabilitate the damaged coastal forest by planting about 500,000 black pines and other species of trees at the 100-hectare site in the span of 10 years up until 2020.
The actual tree-planting started in 2014 and 80,000 seedlings were planted last year in the area covering 16 hectares. In 2015, about 50,000 black pine and broad-leaved seedlings are expected to be planted at the coastal site covering 7.90 hectares and 1.85-hectare inland area.