Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori Project

In 2018, the Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori project celebrated its 20th anniversary since it began in 1998 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Company’s establishment, setting out to restore the vitality of the rich national forest cloaking the foothills of Mt. Fuji that was extensively damaged by a typhoon.

As a commemoration, Sumitomo Forestry published the “20-year History of Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori” booklet in July 2018 and distributed them to local elementary and junior high schools as well as other relevant facilities.

Furthermore, as a 20th anniversary volunteer activity, volunteers refurbished the Forest Ark*1 using three-blend hard-packed dirt*2 (approx. 200 m²) in addition to the tour of the Manabi no Mori held in November to check the growth of planted trees over the 20 years. A total of 169 people (including staff) participated in the event over three days.

In fiscal 2018, the Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori was used for environmental education programs as well as opened to NPOs and other organizations. A total of 1,630 people visited Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori from inside and outside of the Company with a total of 28,264 people visiting the project between fiscal 1998 and 2018.

*1 An environmentally friendly facility located at the entrance of Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori and is a site for education and volunteer activities.

*2 Three-blend hard-packed dirt is made from natural soil, lime and bittern that are mixed and packed. The mixture of these three materials is the reason it is called three-blend hard-packed dirt. The volunteer activities reused the existing soil of the doma earthen floor inside the Forest Ark to fully refurbish the area packed the soil.

Volunteer Activities in Forestry Development

Since the start of the project in 1998, up until now, a cumulative total of 28,000 volunteers have helped to plant approximately 30,000 region-specific saplings and conduct other forestry efforts.

In fiscal 2017, reforestation efforts of national forest damaged by typhoon were completed by removing the hexatubes. The activities from fiscal 2018 moved from reforestation to volunteer tree survey efforts to verify the growth of the forest. The Manabi no Mori project will shift to a more suitable forest for learning while visualizing the growth of the trees that have been cultivated by the volunteers up until now under the guidance of arborists and other tree experts.

Employees Participating as Volunteers

Employees Participating as Volunteers

Students of the Sumitomo Forestry  School of Professional Building Techniques Participating as Volunteers

Students of the Sumitomo Forestry School of Professional Building Techniques Participating as Volunteers

Forest Recovery Volunteer Activities Trend

Forest Recovery Volunteer Activities Trend

Environmental Education Program

Sumitomo Forestry has been implementing an Environmental Education Program for local elementary and junior high school students since fiscal 2006 in collaboration with the NPO Whole Earth Institute. Activities include nature observation and games incorporating the five senses. The aim of these opportunities to rediscover the natural world is for the students to learn about the importance of nature and encourage them to consider new ways in which people can coexist with nature in the future. In fiscal 2018, a total of 957 students and children from 10 schools were invited to the program.

Environmental Education Program

Environmental Education Program

Environmental Education Program Trend

Environmental Education Program Trend

Vegetation Monitoring and Wildlife Habitat Survey

We have been conducting vegetation surveys since fiscal 2000 to monitor the recovery of the natural forest under the guidance of Vegetation Management Science Laboratory, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. From the same year, we have been conducting wildlife surveys with the cooperation of the Minami Fuji Branch of the Wild Bird Society of Japan.

The vegetation monitoring was able to confirm the gradual growth of beech, Japanese zelkova, and other trees that were planted as well as dogwood and amur cork trees that grew naturally after the damage caused by the typhoon. Over the last 20 years, the survey revealed that the planted trees had not only gotten larger but entire species in the forest also recovered.

The environment where the ground was bare after the removal of fallen trees gradually transformed from grasslands to forests. With this, on the wildlife habitat survey, the population of pheasants and shrikes is declining, and in their place, the population of such birds of the forest as narcissus flycatchers and varied tit is increasing with opportunities to view them becoming more frequent, indicating that the forest is steadily recovering.

Cultivating a forest is a never-ending job and Mt. Fuji Manabi no Mori, too, is a 100-year project. To ensure that the project is still running 100 years from now, forest management and environmental activities will be continued as a way to communicate the importance of nature to as many people as possible.

Cooperation with Local Communities

The Sumitomo Forestry Group conducts biodiversity conservation in surrounding areas where it engages business in and conducting and activities tied to local communities with local residents.

Forest Maintenance Activities at Gunma Manabi no Mori

In July 2012, Sumitomo Forestry and Gunma Prefecture signed a prefectural forest maintenance partnership agreement, and are working with the prefectural authorities to promote the maintenance of forest at the foot of Mt. Akagi.

Located within the jurisdiction of Maebashi City, Akagi Forest is owned by Gunma Prefecture, which promotes maintenance and conservation of its forests in cooperation with companies and organizations. Sumitomo Forestry held Gunma Manabi no Mori during fiscal 2018. 33 employees of Sumitomo Forestry and partner building contractors as well as their families participated in the activities which included planting of Japanese cypress seedlings and thinning work with the help of local forest associations in August.

Gunma Manabi no Mori

Gunma Manabi no Mori

Advocating the Kanagawa Zero Plastic Waste Declaration

In February 2019, the Sumitomo Forestry sales offices in Kanagawa (Yokohama Branch, Yokohama North Branch, Kanagawa West Branch, Shonan Branch, and Tokyo South Branch of Housing and Construction Division) pledged their support for the Kanagawa No Plastic Waste Declaration. In the future, we will continue the beach cleaning activities that began in fiscal 2018 as well as providing environmental education for local communities about plastic waste.

Development of Technology to Pass Down Heritage and Precious Trees to the Next Generation

Sumitomo Forestry uses the most cutting-edge biotechnology in addition to conventional grafting and cutting based on the request of owners to pass down heritage and precious trees to the next generation. We are also putting our strength into breeding seedlings that provide the properties in the flowers and leaves of heritage and precious trees as a way to pass down both heritage and precious trees to the next generation. In addition, we are building a DNA database for trees to further advance a sophisticated program to identify individual varieties.

- Protected Species that Survived the Great East Japan Earthquake -
Fukushima- Return of the Successor of “Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu” Pine Tree

Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu is a pine tree adored locally since long ago that is estimated to be over 400 years old. Fukushima prefecture has designated the tree as a protected species. However, since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the weevil damages has greatly impacted the vitality of the tree. While exploring the potential of cultivating a new generation of the tree, Minamisoma City asked Sumitomo Forestry for help based on its success in cloning the Miracle Pine Tree. Sumitomo Forestry began to cultivate the successor tree of the Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu in 2013. The few remaining pine cone seeds that were successfully harvested sprouted in March 2015. The single leaf, “Ichiyo” as the distinction of the Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu appeared at the end of 2018 on the seedling that had grown and was decided for it to return home.

Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu

Izumi no Ichiyo Matsu

Launch of the TOKYO Sakura Project -Preserving and Popularizing the Tokyo Sakura by Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Sumitomo Forestry-

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Sumitomo Forestry launched the TOKYO Sakura Project to preserve and popularize the cherry blossoms that has close ties with Tokyo. Sumitomo Forestry is passing on the genetic strains of Tokyo Sakura through species identification via the genetic information as well as the cloning techniques via tissue cultures unique to Sumitomo Forestry in accordance with the Partnership Agreement on the Natural Park Business concluded by Sumitomo Forestry and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in April 2018.

TOKYO Sakura Project Logo

TOKYO Sakura Project Logo

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Training and Education for the Next Generation

Sponsoring the Marunouchi Kids Jamboree 2018 to Share the Importance of Trees and Nature with Children

Sumitomo Forestry sponsored and exhibited a booth at the Kids Jamboree held at the Tokyo International Forum in August 2018. The Kids Jamboree is an event for children that have been held continually throughout the summer season since 2007 under a concept to deliver wonder, discovery and surprise to nurture aspiration for the future in the next generation. Sumitomo Forestry has sponsored the Kids Jamboree for three consecutive years since 2016. This year the Company introduced the life and nature around us in a quiz format under the theme of biodiversity. Anyone who answered the quiz was given Kikorin merchandise as a present. Both parents and children alike were able to experience the fun and thrill of learning at the Kids Jamboree.

Parents and Children Trying the Quiz

Parents and Children Trying the Quiz

Teaching a Course Under the Theme “The Dream of Bio Hanami to Create a Future for the Earth Through the Power of Trees!” to High School Students

Sumitomo Forestry Group cooperated in the 18th Nikkei Education Challenge (Host: Nikkei Inc.) held in July 2018. The Group conducted a course under the theme “The Dream of Bio Hanami to Create a Future for the Earth Through the Power of Trees!” for high school students who will be entrusted with the future of our society. Through participation in this program, Sumitomo Forestry introduced the broad range of its businesses center upon trees and the direct connection to businesses through the research results of the Tsukuba Research Institute. This effort was able to share the sensation, dreams and joy earned through research experience and work.

This course reviewed the project for the weeping cheery blossom trees synonymous with Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Daigoji temple in Kyoto found in the research to cultivate and pass down these heritage trees utilizing the research and development in tissue cultures for plant life. We talked about the many failures in thousands of attempts to find a culturing medium suitable for cherry blossom trees until finally finding success in cultivating the first weeping cherry blossom tree in the world. High school students also passionately worked in actual experiments to harvest cells for growth using a microscope.

In the Classroom

In the Classroom

Conducting Corporate Research Seminars for SGH-Designated Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama Higashi High School

As part of the Super Global High School (SGH) Program underway since 2014, the students of Matsuyama Higashi High School visit Niihama, Ehime, where the Sumitomo Forestry Group was founded, to take part in a seminar every year.

The seminar held in June 2018 was made up of two sections; a lecture to introduce the businesses of the Sumitomo Forestry Group as well as a discussion about the experiences of employees working abroad among other things in Niihama Office as well as field work at the Forester House in Kyubesshi. These students learned about the corporate spirit passed down through the close to 325-year history of Sumitomo Forestry as well as the contributions to current business expansion overseas.

In fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015, students visited the Djakarta office to experience the Sumitomo Forestry business expansion in Indonesia.

Sumitomo Forestry sponsors and cooperates with the Super Global High School Program to foster global leaders starting from high school who can participate on the international stage through these series of activities.

Forester House

Forester House

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