Agroforestry knowledge exchange in Japan
Posted 17 April 2023
Private Forests Tasmania agriforester Molly Marshall recently returned from an Agroforestry knowledge exchange in Japan.
Over 12 days, Molly travelled around central Honshu with the group of Australian forest industry stakeholders including Rowan Reid, Sharlee Dunolly-Lee, Andrew Stewart, Rob Youl, Jacinta Douglas, and Kazuki Kagohashi.
The group visited and interacted with an array of land managers, foresters, farmers, entrepreneurs, sawmillers and government officials.
Through the group’s travels they were able to understand the complexities and opportunities which the forestry sector within Japan faces.
All the forests the team saw were dominated by softwoods planted post World War 2, with some areas having some minor native hardwood species regenerating.
Some of the complexities which the group were able to better understand through their visit were the small scale of the land parcels (often less then 1ha), the operational constraints (terrain and weather) and absentee landowners (often of an elderly age).
Despite these factors, however, the group was able to see innovation occurring and the multiple values that their forests are managed for, such as maple syrup, sap water, tea, essential oils, education, biodiversity, timber, and shiitake mushrooms.
The innovation continued across the whole supply chain with the group being fortunate enough to meet Mr Hironari Inoue of (Hida Goboku Inc).
This local family run business was completely vertically integrated along the supply chain from sawmilling through to owning and operating a construction business.
The local Kiyomi sawmill pictured below runs year-round of 5ha of trees …. how incredible is that?
Whilst the group learnt a lot about value adding products, small scale harvesting and how to overcome the challenges of absentee landholders, the group also provided insights from the Australian landscape.
It is hoped that into the future that the connection built with Japan continues with perhaps some of the Japanese land managers coming to Australia to understand the complexities and opportunities we face.
Molly would like to thank Global Landcare for facilitating such an educational knowledge exchange and further acknowledge the enormous efforts of Global Landcare vice-chair Rob Youl and Kazuki Kagohashi, who is also a board member with Global Landcare, without them the trip would not have been the success it was.