What are the features of the Yokohama Forever Forest Activities?
The main features of the Yokohama Forever Forest Activities are the "Miyawaki Method", "germination of saplings by hand," and "tree-planting by employees and local residents."
1. The Miyawaki Method
A plant ecologist and Professor Emeritus at Yokohama National University Dr. Akira Miyawaki is providing guidance for the tree-planting activities for this project. The Miyawaki Method is different from simple afforestation. It is a distinctive technique that plants mixes of saplings from different tree species that are native to the area soil, to grow the trees close together (mixed, dense planting) in arrangements that closely resemble natural forests. This method has been employed both inside and outside of Japan to regenerate forests in many different places. While normal forest regeneration is said to require 100 years or more, the Miyawaki Method can regenerate forests within 10 to 20 years from planting. Miyawaki Method forests only need to be managed for the first three years after planting.
Additionally, large numbers of broad-leaved evergreen trees are selected for this method. Thanks to their deep roots which grow straight downward into the earth, these conservation forests are tough to take down, creating strong protection against natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, and fires. Yokohama Rubber aims for coexistence with local communities, using the Miyawaki Method to plant trees around plants at production sites which can help keep damage to a minimum in the event of disasters inside or outside of the plants.
2．Germination of Saplings by Hand
The core concept that Yokohama Rubber has for creating these forests is for participants to directly do so themselves. This includes preparing the soil and germinating the saplings by hand. Employees handle practically everything, from preparing the soil to extracting the acorns, and preparing pots for the saplings. Currently the portion of saplings prepared by hand has reached 80%. Each plant gathers acorns, sows seeds, and organizes the raising of saplings and such to either plant them around their own facilities, or offer them to the local community.
3．Tree-Planting by Employees and Regional Communities
This project is supported by the efforts of employees, families, and local residents at our locations around the world, to plant trees and help nurture them. We hope that planting and nurturing trees together can give everyone in local communities a sense of togetherness, and spur feelings of communal trust within those communities. Employees of municipal government agencies also take part in the project, opening up more support for activities such as tree-plantings in local communities.