A Philosophical Basis for Restoring Ecologically Functioning Urban Forests: Current Methods and Results

  • Akira Miyawaki

There are several purposes of planting trees, but the main purpose in many countries has been lumber production. For example, in Japan needle-leaved trees such as Japanese cypresses (Cryptomeria japonica, Chamaecyparis obtuse), pine trees (Pinus thunbergii, P. densiflora), and larches (Larix kaempferi) have long been monocultured in plantation rows on mountains for timber. At one time lumber was one of Japan’s main industries. However, recently Japan’s timber industry has been overtaken by much cheaper lumber imported from other countries. Many plantations were abandoned with little subsequent management, and as a result these forests have degraded greatly.

Today, trees in urban areas are being planted for many different reasons. Aesthetic beautification is one main purpose in urban environments, especially those around industrial sites and transportation corridors. Contemporary landscape architectural designs in Japan often consist of hardscapes with little vegetation as “softening” design elements (see Chapter 9). Buildings of metal, concrete, and other nonliving materials occupy a major part of the limited urban space, with adult trees of rare, exotic species and fast-growing pioneer species scattered in openings. Along roadsides adult trees are planted in rows. In many urban parks exotic trees are chosen and scattered on lawns. These are the typical tree planting palettes and arrangements in urban areas of Japan and many other countries.


Native Forest Tropical Rainforest Urban Forest Disaster Mitigation Potential Natural Vegetation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Miyawaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Japanese Center for International Studies in EcologyJapan

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