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HOMEmori> forest.html

To the people of the world...

Erimo-misaki's resurrection -  from desert to forest.

   From June the 25th to the 26th, a retired Junior High School teacher from Yamaguchi prefecture came to stay in Erimo-misaki. She came to see with her own eyes the afforestation about which she had taught for seven years. I guided her through the forest. In August, a young women came from Kobe to see the seals. She, also, had studied about Erimo-misaki in her junior high school days. 

 In September last year, there was a seminar about afforestation in Shoya, a nearby town. The seminar organizers invited members of the Futaro Fund for Forests (FFF) planting trees in Africa to attend. The president said that coming to Erimo-misaki and hearing about the work of the past 50 years in the forest was a great encouragement.

   I think it is important to teach the children of the future about the development our forest. At the moment, many people who hear about it say, "I didn't know that!" We want our forest to become a 'must-know' topic. Deforestation is becoming a problem around the world as it is causing the planet to become warmer. The number of people who care about nature seems to be on the decline, but by teaching about Erimo-misaki's afforestation, we hope that, one by one, more and more people will begin to think about the earth. At the same time, we want to encourage others to work for increased afforestation around the world.


I'm waiting for you in Erimo!

Plant your own tree!

Erimo-misaki - past and present

1. The forest's destruction and Erimo-misaki's demise.

  A long time ago, there were many different types of trees in Erimo-misaki. From the Meiji era, however, the local people began to cut down the trees for fuel and so on. Grasshoppers also devoured the grass. From around 1880, 70 years of strong winds ripped up the roots and blew the black topsoil away, leaving only red soil. This is how it came to be called "Erimo Desert". This "desert" soil was blown into the beautiful blue sea, turning it red. It mixed with the "konbu" (a kind of edible seaweed), causing the selling price to decrease. Life became harder for the local people and they had to make a life-changing decision - leave and look for work elsewhere, or plant a new forest. 

2. The forest renewal begins.

  After having applied to the relevant minister, the people of Erimo-misaki began planting grass seeds in 1952. They covered the seeds with "yoshizu soda" (covers made of reeds) to stop the wind from blowing them away, but 3 years later, there was still no grass. 

3. A glimmer of hope.

  After a lot of hard work and thought, the reed covers were changed to ones made of "gota", an inedible seaweed. When the "gota" dried, it became sticky so it wasn't blown by the wind. As it could be gathered from the sea, it was cheap to use. It was also full of nutrients so by 1970, the grass was growing well.

  Tree seedlings were planted as early as 1954, but due to the harsh climate, the first attempts to grow trees were unsuccessful. It was some time before it was realized that black pine trees were strong enough to grow well.

  Many efforts were made to prevent the wind from damaging the seedlings. In wet areas, channels were dug into which the seedlings were put. In the drier areas, so-called "hurdle fences" were put over the trees.

hurdle fences

4. The forest and the sea

 Eventually, the efforts of the people of Erimo-misaki proved worthwhile. The trees grew tall and the leaves which fell from them helped to make the soil good. Nutrients from the soil then flowed into the sea, where they helped the seaweed to grow. The sea became clean once again and many fish could be caught.

  Nowadays, there are over 2,000,000 trees flourishing in Erimo-misaki. They have ensured the happiness of the local people in many ways:

* fish and seaweed are plentiful, providing the base for a local economy;

* as the red soil is no longer blown about by the wind, houses are cleaner and people are healthier;

* local people have been able to open shops and accommodation facilities for the increased number of tourists.

5. Come see it for yourself!

 Now that you know all about Erimo-misaki's successful afforestation, why don't you come and see it for yourself? We'll be waiting at Guesthouse Semba (Youth Hostel Association Member). You can watch the video showing the planting of the forest, as shown on NHK's television program "Project X" and help our efforts by planting a tree. Come take a walk in the resurrected forest of Erimo-misaki and experience the inhabitants' unique relationship with nature.

 Take a walk in the forest

 

Translated by Emma, 27.09.03

 

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