A Milestone for Treeclimbing and Forest Protection

Forest Protection

Recently the Ministry of Parks and Recreation invited me to give a speech to twenty senior government officials as well as 200 young foresters on natural resource protection. My speech was to encourage the young foresters to help educate Japan about the plight of Old Growth forests.

I asked for permission to deliver the speech in the forest while perched on a tree limb and for a man who lives in a Miso Barrel Treehouse this request was not a surprise to the organizers. I was granted the approval to give a "tree speech."

Japan is one of the world's largest importers of lumber and old growth wood. It is less expensive to buy imported lumber than to harvest generation old tree farmed wood and consequently the forestry industry is bankrupt and wood lies rotting in Japanese forests. The paradox is perishing overseas old growth forests and rotting forest abundance in Japan.

Japan has farmed forests for hundreds of years and now the nation is covered with man made forests, designated for lumber but no market. These forests unless culled, become dark sick and ugly despite the culled wood being free.

Soon world lumber will have labels stating whether or not it is old growth trees so that people can use their conscience when choosing lumber. Without educating the public they don't have the information to make a moral decision.

To encourage people to take up tree climbing and become instructors, I asked the Ministry to set up tree climbing stations in the National Parks and campsites to promote young families coming to the forest and enjoying the trees. Booths should also be set up to explain about world trees and exploitation.

I also shared with the foresters my dream for Japan.

1. That Japan be less lumber dependent for building and more forest dependent for fun. Ultimately to be a population that loves nature games, tree climbing and forest recreation.

2. An Education Ministry that encourages taking classes outdoors and into the trees. A country that is not infamous for importing old growth but famous for forest protection and earth friendly living.

3. Japan needs to educate the population to import less and use the Japanese farmed lumber instead. As the forests are culled a more diverse environment of native plants and trees could be planted and over time the forest would be returned to it's natural state.

The speech was a great success and tree climbers who are registered with TCI and Treeclimbing Japan were given permission to climb in the Aichi Prefecture National Parks and Forests.

In May 2000, I will give a nation wide speech to foresters and park employees. We will be launching the Treeclimbing and Forest Friends as a program to introduce Forest Fun and protection.