Old Growth Forest and Shinto Gods
TreeClimbing Japan is devoted to helping physically challenged persons ascend into the trees where they can look at their life from a different perspective. By the time they reach the ground they have a new zest for life. This experience immediately changes people's perception of physically challenged persons who climb with Tree Climbing Japan.

Families love tree climbing and it is very rewarding and exciting for us to see the joy, laughter and bonding as families climb together. For those who love nature, tree climbing brings their love of the forests to loftier levels. These people become intimate friends with trees and the world around them.

Schools love our programs that help children and teachers up into the trees. After the initial safety concerns are taken care of, the teachers and students really enjoy the activity of being high in the treetops.

Besides working to bring tree climbing closer the community, TreeClimbing Japan also sponsors many forest appreciation events and awareness programs. One of our greatest efforts is to stop old growth logging around the world.

Japan is the world's largest importer of lumber and raw logs and the largest importer of old growth lumber.  Unfortunately, the average Japanese person has never heard of old growth trees or forests. They are not aware of the plights of North American forests. Every tourist who has ever visited Canada or USA reports seeing the beautiful strips of forests. What they don't see are the massive clear cuts on the other side, which are camouflaged by these fronts. 

Japanese on the whole are nature-loving people. We have found many people totally shocked to learn what consumers have done to our forests and old growth. They are devastated when they learn that people are trying to save the trees that are used in their paper and homes.

Japan is known as one of the most forest abundant countries in the world. It is also one of the most populous countries, with more than 126 million people living within an area slightly smaller than the US state of California. It is not surprising then that there are only 0.2 hectares of forest for every person in living Japan (only a quarter of the world average, which is 0.8 ha per capita). To draw another comparison, Canada, an exporter of forest products to Japan, has forests covering an area of 416.2 million hectares (an area nearly three times the size of Europe) and a relatively small population of 31.2 million people. Canada's per captia forest coverage is more than 13 hectares, but this is a country that like Japan is facing environmental concerns over the harvesting of diminishing stands of old growth forest.

For most Japanese, Old Growth Trees are Shinto Gods.  When a tree has lived so long and grown so huge it takes on a state of holiness.  This is evident all over Japan to anyone visiting the Shrines and Temples built close to their huge sacred trees.  Many trees in Japan's forests have small temples under their branches and people bring offerings to the trees and hope for their blessing.

It is Tree Climbing Japan's goal to try our best to educate all those whom we can to the plight of our forests and to encourage them to make forest-friendly consumer choices. There is much work to do. For example, Japan has such so underutilized domestic lumber and managed forests that the trees are rotting on the hillsides.  Almost 50% of the forests in Japan are man made and managed. These forests are 35-50 years old and in dire need of thinning and culling.  Unfortunately, it is cheaper to buy old growth products than it is to harvest trees from managed forests.

The average age of forest workers is in the upper 50's and it is estimated that in 10 years there will no longer be workers nor healthy forests to harvest. In order for the managed forests to be properly maintained there needs to be a market for the Japanese lumber. 

The Ministry of Parks and Recreation have also joined with the Ministry of Forestry and hopes to restore large tracts of managed forest into natural parks and reserves. However, the managed forests have to be cut and sold before there is sufficient revenue to fund any restoration.

 The Ministry of Forestry is pleading for people to buy Japanese lumber. Campaigns and slogans encourage the public to save their forests and to buy Japanese lumber.  But many of the huge Japanese Zaibatsu and big corporations have too much invested in their overseas mills and lumber businesses and so there is a conflict between industry and government programs promoting the use of Japanese lumber. 

 And so it continues. Multinational corporation rape stands of old growth around the world and Japan's old growth, the Gods of the Forests, continue to fall. Meanwhile, disease and rot is running rampant in Japan's under utilized managed forests. This is a horrendous state of affairs!

Tree Climbing Japan encourages all those we come in contact with to appreciate our old growth forests and to buy locally.  Not only will they save the old growth, they will help their local community.  The idea is to think global, buy locally.   

 Positive change is going to require everyone everywhere doing whatever he or she does best to help the forests. Tree Climbing Japan appreciates and respects environmentalists and all of their efforts to stop old growth logging at the front lines. We acknowledge all those worldwide who provide the information and communication lines that connect like-minded persons. All those who lobby for environmental causes are also our friends. For the sake of the forests and all of our friends Tree Climbing Japan will do everything we can here in Japan.