Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

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Hoiberg
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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by Hoiberg »

Good morning near and far,

Happy to join you here. I live with my wife and daughter on the outskirts of a small coastal village in Yokosuka municipality.
Originally I was born in Denmark but have lived and worked (environmental research) in Japan on and off for the last 10 years.

I asked on reddit a while a go a question about how to access lumber in local forests. This is because I like DIY and would like to work with self cut and milled timber. I also see in my local forest that a lot of windfall just lays around, a minimum of forest management happens, and so I was wondering how one would go about volunteering to contribute to the local forest management. On reddit the responses did not give me a totally clear way forward, and I still haven't found out how to go about it legally and even procedurally. But on reddit also a kind soul recommended I join this forum. So here I am and look forward to read and contribute here.

Cheers!

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Zasso Nouka
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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hi Simon and welcome to JSL, can't remember if it was me or someone else that invited you here but whoever thank you for signing up and joining our little community. If it was Felix The Farmer that was me.

It's quite difficult to give a definite answer as each area/municipality is different. All I can say is if you contact the local shiyakusho and/or neighbours word will start to spread out that you are looking for that kind of wood and are willing to help out in forestry maintenance. When we first moved to our area we didn't have any local supplies but now whenever someone is cutting down trees they ask if we are interested and if the local lumber yards have a few trees that have defects they ask if we'd like them.

I'm not sure if there is definite answer but the more folk that know about you locally the more options become available. Some people would rather see their wood rot away than give it to you, others will deliver it to your doorstep, freshly cut.

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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by Zakiyama »

Hi Simon, Welcome to simple life!

Japan's forests are in need of some management for sure! It's great that you are interested.

My husband spent some time working in the forestry department of our village and his advice is as follows:

All you would need is permission from the land owner. To figure out the land owner, you can ask your town office. They have maps with registered owners' names on each plot. Whether they will show you these maps depends on their mood. And a lot of times the registered owners aren't current. But it's worth a shot. If they don't want to give out personal information, ask if they would be willing to pass on your information to the owner. But this is a little above their job description, I think.

You can also try asking your local forestry association (森林組合 shinrinkumiai)for the owners' info or to pass on your own.

You can also try your neighborhood leader (区長 kuchou), they would hopefully remember whose land it is and know how to contact them. Again this kind of depends if they are in a good mood.

Or ask the older people in your neighborhood if they know whose land it is.

In general, people are thrilled that you would want to help manage the land. Sometimes people are stuck in the glory days of timber and wouldn't let anyone touch their precious stock of timber, which they believe is still worth glory day prices. Best to apologize and back away slowly in that case :D .

Every town will be different of course. Ours used to have a thriving timber market so it's a little complicated.

As a last resort, if the forest land is adjacent to your own land, you can complain that the trees are causing too much shade or that they are in danger of falling on you and need to be cut down for safety/health. Shade is taken seriously as it will increase mold and moisture and makes the area colder. It's even better if it's shade on your vegetables. This would force them to contact the owner.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by Hoiberg »

Hi guys,

Thank you for this very good advice, opinion and input.

And I'm sorry for the slow response. Somehow life, daughter's birthday and national holidays got in the way. :oops:

I just wanted to add, that yes we will try to find out who is the owner of the land nearby. The options proposed to contact the local city hall (shiyakusho) as well as going to the forestry association, the 森林組合 (shinrunkumiai) are good. In fact I found the address of the local 森林組合, and will try to find time to go there with my wife.

I also had a look at https://www.ringyou.net/, which seems to be a government initiative to promote employment within the forestry sector. They do regular regional promotional events, and I might try to join one of those, covid permitting next spring season. But in reality the most practical way to engage in forest management for now probably is to get an informal arrangement with an owner to help take care of their land and get some experience that way.

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Zasso Nouka
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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hoiberg wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:54 am
And I'm sorry for the slow response. Somehow life, daughter's birthday and national holidays got in the way. :oops:
No worries, we take life in the slow lane here so please don't feel under pressure to hurry a response and let us know when you have made some progress with finding some land to manage. It could be useful for someone else in a similar situation later on.

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Hi from Simon in Kanagawa, Yokosuka

Post by edmundedgar »

I'm not sure if this will help you but one more thought: In my town (Mashiko, Tochigi) there are like 3 or 4 people who you would call when you need a tree cut down. Some of them are quite professional with a proper yard and lots of machinery and some of them are just random old guys with a chainsaw. This isn't exactly actual forest management but a lot of the time (also in my case) people's houses back onto forest and you need to deal with trees that overhang, and they'll get requests either from the owner of the forest part or from the person whose house is next to it, who can in turn get permission from the owner. The guy who cut down trees for us told us that if we want firewood we can just go over to his yard with a k-truck and he'll hook us up.

So if you can get an introduction to one of these people, or work out where they drink, they'll probably know who owns what land and how to get permission from them to deal with stuff that's lying around, and they may also be able to say to you "help yourself to this".