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) (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.

* Consumers at the top of the food chain, the ecological pyramid structure in the area

Species of Mammals and Birds Confirmed by Past Surveys

  Verified mammal and avian species
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Company-owned forests in Shikoku 14,782 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
5,804 Mammals       12       (Wakayama)10
Birds       25       (Wakayama)29
Total 47,967  

* Conducted in two areas in 2015; Wakayama and Hyogo

Japanese deer confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in fiscal 2016

Japanese monkeys confirmed in Niihama (Shikoku) forests in fiscal 2016

Appropriate Control of the Deer Population

In recent years, the rising deer population throughout Japan is increasing concerns about damage caused to young plants, peeled bark, and other harm to forestry in addition to soil runoff and the loss of biodiversity caused by the animals eating herbaceous plant on the forest floor, which decreases the variety of vegetation.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group mitigates damage to seedlings to encourage forest growth by trapping and ridding the deer and setting up tree shelters in order to ensure proper forest management.

Properly controlling the deer population contributes to comprehensive forest management of next generation through promotion of forest growth, biodiversity conservation by sustaining diverse vegetation on the forest floor, and prevention of local disasters by preventing soil runoff.

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Biodiversity Conservation in Plantation Forests Overseas

Wana Subur Lestari (WSL) and Mayangkara Tanaman Industri (MTI) Initiatives

More than half of living species throughout the world live in rainforests, which are said to be the treasure troves of life. However, rainforests are slowly disappearing today due to a variety of issues from disordered development and illegal logging to forest fires. Sumitomo Forestry Group affiliated companies PT. Wana Subur Lestari (WSL) and PT. Mayangkara Tanaman Industri (MTI) conduct operations balancing industrial reforestation and environmental protection in the West Kalimantan province of Indonesia.

Each operation begins with detailed measurements and surveys to determine protected areas, buffer zones and plantation areas. Protected forests are subject to regular animal surveys and in addition to population monitoring of orangutans and Proboscis monkeys, which are rare animals, studies are conducted on fruit-bearing trees, their source of food.

Observations in the dark for the numerous animals active in the early morning or late at night require veteran skills. Sumitomo Forestry succeeded in the direct observation of Proboscis monkeys and orangutans in the early morning and night by setting up automatic photography using camera traps or drones equipped with heat sensors.

Camera traps set up in these protected areas captured a total of 766 animals from 38 different species (photographed between the beginning of August 2019 to the beginning of February 2021), 26 of which were mammals.

We captured an adult orangutan with its child for the first time in fiscal 2019 and confirmed a higher population density than in surrounding areas in fiscal 2020. These results verify the growing orangutan population.

Peatlands store a tremendous amount of water. Sumitomo forestry surveys not only ecosystems on land but also in aquatic habitats due to concerns about the impact of our operations on rivers. In the lower basin of an area managed by WSL, we have discovered a habitat of Irrawaddy dolphins, which are an endangered species. Examples of monitoring surveys of aquatic creatures in rainforest peatlands are few and far between. These Sumitomo Forestry surveys are pioneering the work worldwide.

List of Aquatic Creatures Discovered Through the Survey

Direct Observation of Animals Using Heat Sensors

Adult Orangutan with Its Child (October 2019)

Tasman Pine Forests Ltd. (TPF) Initiatives

Sumitomo Forestry donated to the Kea Conservation Trust, an organization that protects the kea (large parrot species) indigenous to New Zealand. Kea is the only parrot in the world to live in mountainous areas, and it is considered one of the smartest birds on the planet. This species of parrot is protected as an endangered species and adored by the people of New Zealand. These birds are seen from time to time in the TPF forests. We report any sightings to the relevant agencies and ensure their protection. This donation will be used to train kea protection officers.

Kea (Large Parrot Species)

Kea (Large Parrot Species)

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