Restructuring of Japanese Forestry and the Sustainability of More Advanced Forestry Regions

  • Yasutaka MatsuoEmail author
Part of the Perspectives on Geographical Marginality book series (PGEO, volume 4)


Timber forestry was established in the Edo era in Japan. It comprised silvicultural and extractive forestry. The usufruct system supported the mechanism of various forest uses in the Edo era. After the Meiji Restoration the tax levied on forests caused a general decline of mountain villages and a widening gap among them, and extractive forestry disappeared. The continual policies to dismantle the common-property resources also negatively impacted the communities. After World War II, silvicultural forestry spread over most mountainous areas and flourished, but the high price of domestic timber led to an increase of imported wood. As the public continued to prefer high-quality domestic timber and Japanese traditional architecture, the two-category log and timber markets were maintained: the average and the high-quality log and timber until 1980s, which made it possible to retain the superiority of the more advanced forestry regions. However, the use of plywood and laminated wood and the shift of interest from the quality of timber components to amenities such as kitchen and bath in the house disrupted the marketing base of high-quality domestic timber. Severe depopulation and ageing also weakened the socioeconomic base of forestry. Big fluctuations of the standing-tree and log prices among the prefectures and the serious decline of several advanced forestry regions have progressed since the last decade of the 20th century. Countermeasures have been taken in forestry regions. The chapter examines the case of the Yoshino forestry region, one of the more advanced forestry areas. The efforts in the core municipality illustrate possibilities and difficulties of the industrial revival through the collaboration of the local forest managers, local organizations and the associated carpenters in the urban Kinki district. Well-located municipalities either preserve the forest with minimum care or pursue the revitalization of silvicultural forestry aligning themselves with big forestry corporations. Peripheral municipalities, on the other hand, proceed to a partial abandon of cutover areas because of the severe drop of the price of the afforested plots.


Forestry Ownership Tax system Dynamics 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Senshu UniversityTokyoJapan

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