Biodiversity Conservation in Company-Owned Forests in Japan and Plantation Forests Overseas

Biodiversity Conservation in Company-Owned Forests in Japan

The Policy on Biodiversity Conservation for Company-owned forests in Japan calls for efforts to promote diversity of ecosystems through proper management of protected areas and consideration toward the continuity of forests, diversity of species through protection of rare flora and fauna, and genetic diversity through the maintenance of populations. In keeping with these policies, forests are subject to appropriate zoning and management according to certain criteria, such as the increment of trees. Sumitomo Forestry is also making efforts to create endangered species lists and manuals and conduct monitoring surveys of wildlife.

 

Policy on Biodiversity Conservation in Company-Owned Forests in Japan(Excerpt) (Formulated June 2006)

  1. Diversity of ecosystems
    We will properly manage strictly protected areas designated under the Natural Parks Law of the Japanese government and other legislation in a manner stipulated by the law. In other areas, we will ensure continuity of forests by limiting the area of forest harvested, particularly when clear cutting is conducted.
  2. Diversity of species
    We will work to prevent a decline in the number of species existing in natural forests by refraining from expansive planting projects and other extreme activities involving the replacement of species that would have a major impact on existing ecosystems. We will also give the utmost consideration to the protection of rare flora and fauna in all operations, making reference to the Sumitomo Forestry Red Data Book.
  3. Genetic diversity
    Genetic variation and the maintenance of populations to support them will become issues in the future. However, analysis is complicated and therefore we will closely watch monitoring activities carried out by government and public institutions and their findings.

Red Data Book and Riparian Forest Management Manual

Sumitomo Forestry creates a Sumitomo Forestry Red Data Book listing flora and fauna at threat of extinction which may exist in Company-owned forests and distributes it to employees and contractors involved in forest management. By carrying the book with them during operations, personnel can refer to the opinions of specialists when they come across flora and fauna included in the book and take action. While using the latest version of this book today, we will continually advance measures focused on biodiversity and update the content of the text as necessary.

The Company has also created the Riparian Forest Management Manual to ensure the appropriate management and preservation of areas around bodies of water that are rich in biodiversity.

Sumitomo Forestry Red Data Book

Sumitomo Forestry Red Data Book

Wildlife Monitoring Surveys

Sumitomo Forestry monitored wildlife inhabiting Company-owned forests. Every year, surveys are conducted in one of four areas— Mombetsu (Hokkaido), Niihama (Shikoku), Hyuga (Kyushu) and Hyogo/Mie (Honshu). Data for each area is therefore accumulated in four-year cycles. This is used to create basic reference materials relating to biodiversity and to ascertain the impact of forestry on the surrounding environment over the long-term.

Monitoring surveys conduct nine times up until now have clearly shown diverse life being maintained through the production of a habitat environment and a change in the number of mammals and birds during the gradually transition from a clear-cut area to forest.

While a number of species decline temporarily, the clear-cut areas have been shown to distribute places suitable for umbrella species such as hawks and land appropriate for hunting in a mosaic shape in addition to realizing a favorable environment for life such as the species above to thrive.

In the future, we will consider monitoring results to date as we work to properly sustain functions such as maintaining environmental conservation and biodiversity in company-owned forests.

Species of Mammals and Birds Confirmed by Past Surveys

  Managed Area (ha)   Verified mammal and avian species
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Company-owned forests in Shikoku 14,783 Mammals 14       11       10
Birds 31       34       24
Company-owned forests in Kyushu 9,182 Mammals   11       12      
Birds   33       29      
Company-owned forests in Hokkaido 18,199 Mammals     10       9    
Birds     38       40    
Company-owned forests in Honshu
* 2013 acquisitions in Okayama, Hyogo, and Mie
* 2015 additional acquisitions in Wakayama
5,813 Mammals       12       (Wakayama) 10
(Hyogo) 6
 
Birds       25       (Wakayama) 29
(Hyogo) 21
 
Total 47,977  

* Conducted in two areas in 2015; Wakayama and Hyogo

Japanese deer confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in 2016

Japanese deer confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in 2016

Japanese monkeys confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in 2016

Japanese monkeys confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in 2016

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Biodiversity Conservation in Plantation Forests Overseas

Indonesia has the third largest area of rainforest in the world, however, it is said that around 700,000 hectares of forest are lost each year due to such factors as illegal logging and forest fires. The Sumitomo Forestry Group, which runs a large-scale plantation in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, has formulated appropriate land-use plans based on a scientific standpoint for the purpose of finding harmony between biodiversity and economy. In particular, we device business areas into protection zones and reforestation zones and reduce the impact on protection zones by setting a buffer zones between the protection and plantation zones for indigenous trees to grow.

Protection zones with a high rarity value are properly managed through patrols and periodic survey activities because various environmental functions are at work from the water cultivation functions as well as areas where rare types of animals live to genetic resource preservation functions. In addition, long-nosed monkeys endangered due to poaching are known to like to live along rivers. The conventional 50 to 100 meter protected area along the banks of rivers had been expanded up to a maximum of 500 meters based on scientific information. Furthermore, establishing a route between the mangrove forest where the long-nosed monkeys live and the designated protective forest contributes to expanding the habitat for the long-nosed monkeys. We regularly conduct surveys of rare wildlife for protection zones by inviting in experts and will reflect these results in management and protection in the future.

We strive in efforts to conserve biodiversity via a new landscape management approach by cooperating with local NGOs and local companies because ecosystems are expanding beyond boundaries of business zones stipulated by government agencies.

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