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Clarifying the origin of the forest planning system in Japan

Article title

The Origin of Forest Planning System in Japan

Author (affiliation)

Nobuyuki Yamamoto (a)

(a) Department of Forest Policy and Economics, FFPRI, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Publication Journal

Journal of Forest Research,102(1), 24-30, The Japanese Forest Society February 2020, DOI:10.4005/jjfs.102.24( External link )

Content introduction

The Japanese forest planning system is a system that is unique in the world. It is designed to prevent the disorderly development of forests, and to provide an appropriate balance between the utilization and conservation of forest resources. This system is stipulated under the Forest Law, which is the fundamental law governing forests in Japan. From the time it was revised in the immediate post-war era in 1951, until the present time, it has played an important role in Japanese forest management. In recent years, there have been calls to make forest management more commensurate with today's environment, while at the same time there is a desire to appropriately harvest and renew improved forest resources. Against this backdrop, forest planners are grappling with new ways to bring the forest planning system up to date.

In order to design a better forest planning system for the future, the present study has revealed how the system has developed by looking back to the starting point. As a result, it was found that the 1939 revision of the Forestry Law created the prototype for forest planning maps and forest registers that support the foundation of the technical framework of the forest planning system, and determined the allocation of forests throughout Japan. It was also learned that based on this prototype, negotiations between the post-war occupation government and the Forestry Agency gave rise to today's forest planning system.

We hope that the results of the present study, which have revealed the process by which the forest planning system was established, will enable readers to understand the essence of the system and contribute to the development of a Japanese forest planning system for the future.


Photo1: Photo2:

Photo:Commentaries explaining the revisions made to the system in 1939 and 1951.



Figure:Forest cover map compiled of private forests along the Kitakami River as a model case when the system was introduced.

Source: Fujishima, Shintaro (1941): "Forest Management Planning, Volume 2". Illustration IV, Shuhoen Publishing Co.