Fuji Iyashinomori Woodland Study Center (FIWSC)

1. History and Summary

Fuji Iyashinomori Woodland Study Center (FIWSC) was established in 1925 as the name of The University Forest at Yamanakako. The total area is 40 hectares, of which part belongs to the University of Tokyo and part is trusted to the university by Yamanashi Prefecture. Since 2011, we changed our name to the 'Fuji Iyashinomori Woodland Study Center' (FIWSC) to make new progress in seeking the recreational and restoring aspects of forests.

2. Location

FIWSC is located in one of the most popular resort areas in Japan. The address is Yamanaka and Hirano, Yamanakako Village, Yamanashi. It is about two-and-a-half hours from Shinjuku station, Tokyo, by highway bus. The bus stop is about 3 minutes from the FIWSC.

3. Land Condition

Our Forest ranges from about 990m to 1,060m a.s.l. The soil is immature, originating from volcanic gravels. Annual average temperature is 9.8ºC, precipitation is around 2,355mm, the minimum temperature was minus 19.4ºC over the last ten years (from 2009 to 2018). The maximum snow depth is usually about 50-60cm.

4. Forest Conditions

The forest is located in the higher region of cool temperate forests. Some of the area is covered by stands dominated by larch in the crown story, being replaced by native broad-leaved trees. Various plantations of different tree species have been observed and about 150 tree species have been recorded.

5. Education

The FIWSC provides valuable settings; such as forest, grass land and lecture rooms for field training and learning exercises for the University of Tokyo and other universities and graduate schools. Additionally, Yamanaka Hall, called the "Naito Seminar House," is situated in our forest and serves as a base for hands-on learning, field exercises, and extra-curricular activities. We also provide accommodation facilities equipped with a kitchen for participants to prepare their own meals.

As shown in the diagram below, the Iyashinomori Project aims to perform learning courses as well as produce results through field research. These aims and activities allow the Institute to return valuable educational lessons back to society.

6. Research

In what was formerly known as the University Forest at Yamanakako, much knowledge has been accumulated through forest management practices and research focused on the recreational functions of the forest. Using this knowledge as a basis, the FIWSC has started the "Iyashinomori Project." This project will create a social forest management system in which the local residents are committed to managing and utilizing the forest resources in order to make it a more comfortable place to dwell. The "Iyashinomori Project," as well as other community outreach programs, has adopted a three-pronged approach by researching its functional, technological, and societal features.

(1) [Function] Evaluation of the Forest's Function of Restoring

The function of a recreational forest is exhibited in the interactions that humans have with the forest. While evaluating the effects that humans experience from these forest spaces, we are attempting to enhance the functionality of the forest's recreational aspects. Additionally, in the process of creating these spaces as experiential programs we plan to become more aware of how the act of managing the forest space provides the individual with a sense of healing.

(2) [Technology] Constructing a System for the Collection and Utilization of Wood adaptable for the area

In areas that do not have sufficient timber resources to provide economic revenue, local residents have taken it upon themselves to maintain the forests and collect firewood. We are engaged in gathering information and evaluating technology which will enable people to easily and safely collect and carry out timber, even if they have little experience working in a forest. In addition, we conduct ongoing research to create appealing and effective ways for area residents to use the forest and its resources.

(3) [Society] Regional Development. Spreading "The Iyashinomori" Throughout the Area

Recycling the maintained forests of the area takes root in the process of 1) creating a common sense of "The Iyashinomori" throughout the community, 2) creating a forum for new dialogue and exchange, and 3) constructing partnerships and consensus between disparate parties. We are engaged in action-oriented research to educate local residents into becoming more involved in improving societal methods and understanding.

7. Contribution to Society

We are providing interactive and experiential lectures that are aimed at local residents, and which involve activities that may be carried out through the "Iyashinomori Project." We plan to disclose our activities on investigating forest technology and announce our survey findings to local residents. We will also coordinate efforts with other organizations in the community.