The Green Archipelago: Forestry in Preindustrial Japan (Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1998/9
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This inaugural volume in the Ohio University Press Series in Ecology and History is the paperback edition of Conrad Totman s widely acclaimed study of Japan s environmental policies over the centuries.
Professor Totman raises the critical question of how Japan s steeply mountainous woodland has remained biologically healthy despite centuries of intensive exploitation by a dense human population that has always been dependent on wood and other forest products. Mindful that in global terms this has been a rare outcome, and one that bears directly on Japan s recent experience as an affluent, industrial society, Totman examines the causes, forms, and effects of forest use and management in Japan during the millennium to 1870. He focuses mainly on the centuries after 1600 when the Japanese found themselves driven by their own excesses into programs of woodland protection and regenerative forestry."
"This book is a seminal work. It is impassioned, timely history that contributes by its sweep, subject, and approach. Because the author examines a wide variety of factors, including economics, politics, institutions, population, culture, and the environment, the book is a model of sound historical thinking."
-- "Journal of Asian Studies"
"During the 17th century, a number of political leaders advocated tree planting and the maintenance of forest stability and productivity. Around 1650 Matsudaira Sadatsuna, daimyo of Kuwana domain, urged woodsmen to "plant a 1000 seedlings for every tree" they cut. A decade later Yamaga Soko, a political adviser, admonished woodsmen to log only in the proper season, not to over cut, and to replant harvested areas. In the early 18th century advice became more precise, with Kaibara Atsunobu, adviser to a daimyo, recommending in 1709 that woodsmen "divide mountain forests into several tens of sections and cut off 1-section per year, the whole forest will flourish and lumber increase."
Incredible. They may be one of the first nations to adopt an advanced forest management program, and 300-years later when you travel the Japanese countryside, it shows. The book includes the following:
Section 1: Millennium of Exploitation Forestry
1) The Ancient Predation, 600-850
2) Forests and Forestry in Medieval Japan, 1050-1550
3) Timber Predation During the Early Modern Predation, 1570-1670
Section 2: The Emergence of Regenerative Forestry in Early Modern Times
4) The Negative Regime: Forest Regulation
5) Silviculture: Its Principles & Practice
6) Plantation Forestry: Economic Aspects of its Emergence
7) Land Use Patterns and Afforestation
There are also 8-maps and 1 figure.
This is a very scholarly book full of great information and interesting examples of forestry in Japanese history. At times the dialog bogs down in academia blather, but overall this is an incredible study that offers a good example of a country that recognized an environmental issue and applied their talents to deal with it. I highly recommend it.
In recent years at least, Japan is consistently near the top of the list in per capita seafood consumption. And, as any Western Canadian will tell you, it is also one of the largest importers of forest products. Might these facts indicate something of their past success? And how, why and when did these trends start? By not fully addressing these issues, the author's analysis is incomplete, his conclusions faulty. Perhaps an expanded analysis will follow.
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