Chapter IV Development of forestry and mountain villages
1. Current condition of and challenges for the forestry

(Current condition of forestry management)
  Total forestry output has been on the decline for many years, with a figure of 416.8 billion yen in 2005, some 40% below the peak in 1980. The situation surrounding the forestry is tough and forestry production activities have remained stagnant.

  Given such circumstances, in which the profitability of forestry has deteriorated, those engaged in forestry refrain from cutting down all the trees which have reached harvesting age and tend to opt for the thinning of trees for use or favor long-term forests.

(Forest ownersf associations)
  The Forest Ownersf Association is a major organization in Japan, which maintains about 70% of the areas for planting, cutting and thinning.

  Since the number of non-resident forest owners is increasing, forest owners are aging, and the generational change is accelerating, it is essential for the Forest Ownersf Association to propose forestry practices to forest owners and proactively consolidate the forestry practices.

(Forestry labor population)
  The number of forestry employees has been declining over the long term.

  It is necessary to secure and foster young people capable of engaging in forestry for the long term through moves such as the ggreen employmenth program mechanism, in order to properly maintain forests in future.

(Toward revitalizing forestry)
  Since 2006, the Forestry Agency has been coordinating an intensive campaign entitled gNew Production Systemh in 11 locations in Japan, through which forestry practices are consolidated; raw wood is distributed in a steady manner; the production, distribution and processing costs are reduced at each stage; and an optimum distribution and processing system is established to meet customer needs.

  The number of highly efficient machinery held, which are essential for reducing production cost, has been increasing. The use of highly efficient machinery is expected to become widespread through a combination of the forest road network, consequently meaning forestry production is expected to be more efficient.

2. Current condition and revitalization of mountain villages

  Since the population in mountain villages is expected to further decline, with rapid aging, there is concern that the community function may deteriorate and the number of non-resident forest owners will further increase.

  The proportion of the forests where forestry practices are held by non-resident owners tends to be lower than that by resident owners. The gUtsukushii Mori Zukurih (the creation of well-managed forests and nature-rich land for future generations) aims to redirect the interests of non-resident forest owners towards their forests.

  It is important to develop attractive industries, which make efficient use of local resources in mountain villages and promote the exchanges of people, goods and information between cities and mountain villages, in order to revitalize the same.