Over 500 People Planted Black Pine Seedlings at OISCA Coastal Forest Restoration Project Site in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture
On May 21, more than 500 people participated in the tree-planting ceremony on the Natori coastal area, Miyagi Prefecture to restore the seashore forest devastated by the tsunami in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
This is the third time that OISCA and the Association for the Coastal Forest Restoration in Natori City, a group formed by the local disaster-hit farmers, organized the tree-planting event. This year, the number of the participants surpassed those of the previous two years (350 persons in 2014 and 480 in 2015). The majority (about 90%) of the participants were from Natori City and other cities and towns in Miyagi Prefecture. Another salient feature of this year’s volunteers was that the number of young people noticeably increased. The youngest participant was 3-years old and the eldest one was 84 years old.
Prior to the actual field work, the participants attended the opening ceremony held near the planting site. Ms. Etsuko Nakano, President of OISCA Japan, made an opening speech welcoming all the volunteers to the event. Also, Mr. Masashi Ishizuka, Natori City Vice-Mayor, and representatives from the Tohoku Regional Forest Office, Forestry Agency and the Miyagi Prefectural Government respectively delivered short addresses highlighting the significance of the tree-planting work.
Following the opening ceremony, all the participants, divided into 21 different groups, moved to the assigned planting areas and under the guidance of professional forestry workers, planted a total of 10,000 black pine seedlings raised in pot at the OISCA nursery.
At the closing ceremony, Mr. Eiji Suzuki, President of the Association for Coastal Forest Restoration, briefly explained the background of the project and expressed deep appreciation for the continued cooperation from various supporting companies and organizations and individual volunteers. Asked about the personal impressions of the field work, one of the high school girls said: “It is my first time to join in the tree-planting activity. It has been a very tough job, but I enjoyed it. In the future, I want to show with pride the grown pine trees I planted to my children.”
On the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Yoshihiro Murai, Miyagi Prefectural Governor, visited the OISCA project site to observe the progress of the field operations for the first time. Accompanied by Natori City Mayor Isoo Sasaki, Governor Murai took the trouble to plant some seedlings and looked around the sections planted in the past two years.
Then, he bravely boarded the mobile elevating work platform to have an aerial view of the whole site from the height of 20 meters. He has appreciated the importance of the on-going work which is expected to significantly contribute to the overall disaster recovery.
The Coastal Forest Restoration Project is aimed at rehabilitating the badly damaged seashore forest by planting 500,000 black pine and other tree species over 100 hectares of land in 10 years up until 2020. A total of 130,000 seedlings were planted in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, additional 50,000 seedlings are scheduled to be planted.