I was invited to the General Meeting of Higashi Hokkaido Mokuzai Kyokai (East Hokkaido Logging Association) in Obihiro City, Hokkaido on June 2nd, 2017, at which I gave a lecture entitled “Thinking about the Future of Forestry: Policy, Resources, Distribution and Society.”
The invitation was made as a continuation of my work prior to joining FEAST involving forest and forestry. And, you might be wondering how forestry and logging industry are relevant to FEAST project focusing on food and agriculture. They might appear out of context of FEAST project, but it is not the case. Food production, the main focus of WG3, is linked in many ways to sustainable rural development. And, forestry and logging industry are resource-based in most cases, and therefore adopted as the main industry in rural areas. In this regard, thinking about the future of forestry is inextricable part of thinking about the future of rural areas, I believe.
For the viewpoint above, starting with the 2050 population estimate, I talked about how the society and forestry would look like then, and the prospects of forestry and logging industry as a local industry as well as my thoughts.
East Hokkaido Logging Association is composed of those who engage in forestry and logging industry in Tokachi, Kushiro and Nemura regions. I had an opportunity to talk with the members after my lecture, and to learn that they work not only to have their own business succeed but also to achieve social responsibility in the region, which I found very encouraging in continuing my work on forestry.
In East Hokkaido – the area covered with nature is one of the nation’s largest –, the natural conditions are exceptionally unique, which means that it is not easy to simply incorporate the successful precedents from other parts of Japan. Besides, while the conditions are favorable for agriculture, forestry and fisheries and permit large-scale production, it tends to cause these industries to be mass-market-oriented. In the context of sustainable food and agriculture, food system relocalization is often times advocated, but how should it be applied to East Hokkaido with an abundance of resources? How would an ideal agri-food system look like in this region? It was a meaningful day that I got to ponder once again about the goal of FEAST project.
(Translated by Yuko K.)