Part of the book: Sustainable Forest Management
During World War II, the area cut annually in Japan exceeded the area planted, and cutover land was common. Within approximately 10 years of the end of the war, however, forestation on cutover land was almost complete. In the 10 years that followed, forestation policies targeted increasing coniferous tree plantations to secure industrial roundwood. Forestation plans and legal systems were developed, and organizations such as the Prefectural Forestry Corporations and Forest Development Corporation were founded to promote the planting of coniferous trees. As a result, approximately 10 million ha of coniferous plantations now exist, roughly 40% of the total forested area, and the area has a growing stock of 3.0 billion m3. However, some problems resulted from forestation policies. As coniferous trees were planted intensively over a short period of time, the forest age structures became unequal. Many forests have now reached an age class that requires thinning, but the percentage of forests that have been thinned remains insufficient. In addition, all Prefectural Forestry Corporations are now facing serious financial difficulties. Statistics on plantation forests must be improved to create effective management plans, including new reforestation policies.
Part of the book: Precious Forests
The number of aged forest owners is increasing as Japanese society ages and the number of inheritances involving forest is increasing. The current forest inheritance policies, including the inheritance tax, were introduced after World War II and the entire inheritance system urgently needs improving. Although tax-reduction policies have decreased the forest inheritance tax, private forest owners are facing a greatly decreased domestic timber market and low stumpage prices. The number of non-resident and non-farmer forest owners is increasing, and the traditional farm family-based forestry system is facing a crisis. As the population of Japan decreases, especially in rural areas, the forest inheritance tax must be reconsidered so that non-resident and non-farmer forest owners who have little knowledge of forest management will sell their forests to new owners who are interested in forest management, such as current resident forest owners and forestry companies. Although the 2014 measure that postpones payment of the forest inheritance tax is an important way to support sustainable forest management, especially by large-scale forest owners, the targeted individuals who obtain the advantage must be reconsidered.
Part of the book: Taxes and Taxation Trends
Approximately 40% of Japanese forests are softwood plantations consisting of trees such as Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa), and several varieties of pine (Pinus spp.). Policies and programs related to forest pests and diseases are important for growing forest plantations. Damage caused by the pine bark beetle (Monochamus alternatus) has been a long-standing problem in Japan. Forest damage caused by the pine bark beetle was first found in Nagasaki Prefecture in 1905. Since then, the area of damage has expanded gradually to all prefectures. Damage caused by pine bark beetles became serious during and just after the end of the Second World War. In 1950, the Natural Resource Section of the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ/SCAP) made recommendations for how to control forest pests and diseases. The first act was enacted in 1950, although the control of forest pests was initially addressed as part of the first Forest Act of 1897. Several important reasons for why the Japanese government has failed to stop the expansion of the damaged area can be found in GHQ recommendations: the lack of coordinated programs, underutilization of damaged trees, and shortcomings of forest-management plans.
Part of the book: Silviculture