IV. Measures for the "Forests for the People" in the National Forests
1. Measures for the "Forests for the People"
Peopleüfs expectation for the roles of national forests has been diversified over the years. In addition to the public functions such as conservation of land, the national forests are expected to function as the place to give forest environment education and to pass down the tradition of wood culture to the coming generations in recent years. These roles have increased their importance.
The new Basic Management Plan was laid down, and as the first year of the planning period the National Forest fully implemented the measures to realize the ügforests for the people,üh which are open to the public in name and in realty in fiscal year 2004.
In particular, some national forests have been designated as protected forests to make sure the strict protection of the forests with high values. Also, the creation of üggreen corridorsüh has been proceeded in order to connect one protected forest to another to build a network of protected forests that can serve as habitats and breeding grounds for wildlife and can contribute to conserve the biodiversity. In January 2004, the area surrounding the Shiretoko Forest Ecosystem Reserve was nominated for a natural site for the UNESCO World Heritage.
Ten ügForest and environmental conservation centersüh were established across Japan in order to provide better support for NPOs that work on nature restoration or for educational institutions that are engaged in forest environment education.
ügForestation to support the culture of woodüh has been carried out with the public participation. The purpose of this program is to help passing down wood cultural assets to the next generation, including historically valuable wooden buildings, local festivals and ceremonies, and traditional craftworks.
Some private corporations participate in ügCorporation forestüh program, a profit-sharing forestry system. They are taking part in establishment of forest through this program as one of their social contribution activities.
National Forest Monitor Program has been carried out nationwide since fiscal year 2004 to promote input from the public who are interested in management and operation of national forests.
2. Achievement of the Measures Taken during the Concentrated Reform Period
The intensive measures taken during the concentrated reform period have built up the foundation for the proper and efficient management and operation of national forests in the future. In particular, the proportion of the forests for public functions increased to 88 percent, as well as organizations of the National Forest were restructured into a more simple and efficient system, including seven regional forest offices and 98 district forest offices. As a result of the measures taken to form a healthier financial status, the amount of new borrowing had been steadily reduced during the period, and no new borrowing was listed in the budget for fiscal year 2004.
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