CSR Information

Forest Management in Japan

Preserving and Increasing Forest Resources
through Management of Company-Owned Forests

Distribution and area of company-owned forests (as of March 31, 2017)
Distribution and area of company-owned forests (as of March 31, 2017)

Sumitomo Forestry owns a total 46,444 hectares of forest in Japan (around 1/900 of the country’s land area). Company-owned forests are categorized as either “commercial forests,” where the production of timber is the priority, or “environmental forests,” where conservation of the environment is the focus.

Sumitomo Forestry acquired a forestry certification from Japan’s Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (SGEC)*1 for all Company-owned forests*2 in 2006 and third-party evaluations have confirmed that the forests are being properly managed, including with regard to measures to conserve biodiversity. New forest purchases after the acquisition of the forest certification have each been under evaluation for certification and our certification rate is 100%.

Forest operations include appropriate thinning, which helps to preserve and increase forest resources, while taking into consideration the surrounding environment including the ecosystem. Sumitomo Forestry also aims for highly productive management of its forests based on operational plans that follow the principle of performing the appropriate management for the appropriate tree species on the suited land.

  • *1 Japan's own forestry certification system through which forest management is verified as sustainable by third parties. Certification is based on seven criteria that include the preservation of biodiversity and the conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources. Social awareness is growing due to recognition of the PEFC*3 forestry certification system, an international certification system, since June 2016.
  • *2 The forests owned by Sumitomo Forestry exclude the lands leased to Kawanokita Development Co., Ltd., which is a Group company responsible for operating a golf course
  • *3 Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes is an international NGO that mutually recognizes certification standards created in each country and region as criteria to share internationally. As of March 2017, forestry certification systems in 49 countries have joined PEFC of which 39 have been mutually recognized as forestry certification systems.

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Promoting Effective Wood Procurement
Through the Adoption of High-performance Silviculture Machines

Effectively Extracting Unused Forest Materials for Mombetsu Biomass Power Plant

Mombetsu Biomass Power Plant introduced Scandinavian harvesters and forwarders able to turn in small circles in 2015 to begin efforts to deliver log harvest/thinnings (wood leftover from logging) as fuel materials to the Plant.

Moreover, by selecting forestry equipment with high-level driving performance in narrow forest areas, operators are able to execute all harvesting and transport operations while on the machine. We consider this is an initiative that improves safety and will play a role even in eliminating occupational injuries.

Scandinavian harvester

Scandinavian harvester*1

Scandinavian forwarder

Scandinavian forwarder*2

  • *1 Harvester: Self-propelled high-performance forestry machine that brings together each operation to cut, de-limb, and vertically cross-cut*3 timber, which had traditionally been done with a chainsaw
  • *2 Forwarder: Self-propelled high-performance forestry machine that collects and feeds vertically cross-cut*3 timber on a cargo bed
  • *3 Cross-cut: To cut crude timber to a standard length

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Taking Hold of Potential in New Forests

Efforts in Fast-growing Trees

Sumitomo Forestry has begun efforts in fast-growing tree forests that are gaining more attention in recent years. Fast-growing trees are trees such as Chinese fir, chinaberry, willow and white birch that grow quickly and allow harvests in a short cutting cycle compared to Japanese cedar or Japanese cypress.

The Hyuga Forestry Office is conducting a test harvest of Chinese fir in the Hitoyoshi company-owned forest in Kumamoto prefecture. This test monitors aspects that include the reduction in weeding and tolerance against elements like wild animals through growth surveys and other research to examine the potential as a new tree species for garden vegetation.

In addition, we have begun experiments of planting willow with focus on use as fuel chips for biomass power generation at the Mombetsu Biomass Power Plant. We are investigating the potential use as fuel for biomass power generation while aiming to reduce costs such as harvesting and cultivation by planting and cultivating these trees in unused agricultural land with better topographical conditions than forests.

Chinese fir

Chinese fir

Supporting the Adoption of Forestry ICT Platforms at Municipalities

While quantity of forest resources are analyzed through aerial surveys and forest resource data systems are prepared in some advancing areas, many of the forests in Japan do not have sufficient forest resource information. Sumitomo Forestry built the Forestry ICT Platform together with AS Locus Corporation as a measure to address this situation. The Forestry ICT Platform is a holistic system with a wide range of functionality related to advance forest resource information as well as forests and forestry that has been provided to municipalities throughout Japan and organizations in the forestry business since 2013. The major features of this platform are the ability to optimize and provide it to each region it is adopted with the various forest and forestry data as well as features built-in based on the characteristics of the region. We have supported 11 municipalities with the platform as of the end of fiscal 2016.

Sakawa township, Kochi Pref. that introduced the platform in fiscal 2016 analyzed the forest resources through aerial surveys and was able to realize applications to data systems related to local surveys and other functions to make forestry practices more efficient by creating data from information such as tree heights and chest height diameters for each and every cedar and Japanese cypress in the entire area. In the future, we expect the Forestry ICT Platform to contribute to further evolution of forests in Japan as the platform spreads nationally.

system screen(geographical information)

system screen(geographical information)

system screen (forest resources information)

system screen (forest resources information)

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Toward the Future

Sumitomo Forestry will promote the utilization of forests as a leader in the forest industry by continually pursuing many potentials of forests and forestry through efforts that include more efficient forestry operations through the adoption of better high-performance forestry equipment as well as the use of ICT technology.

In addition, we will promote and maintain a 100% SGEC forest certification rate for both existing company-owned forests and newly acquired forests to promote environmentally-friendly forest management.

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CSR Report2017