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Overcoming Centuries of Forest Mismanagement

In Japan, wildlife and habitats are starting to show the detrimental effects of centuries of forest mismanagement. For example, large predatory birds, such as the Golden eagle, cannot locate prey from the air in order to feed offspring.

Over 40 percent of Japan’s forests are home to just conifers, which were repurposed that way for the financial benefits of the timber industry. These single-species forests are not the habitats that Japanese wildlife need to thrive. The effect of habitat destruction on each animal is difficult to quantify, making support for any change challenging with the budget-conscious government.

However, several dedicated groups and researchers are working toward solutions that not only support conservation but also are cost effective.

One experiment tests whether or not the natural deciduous forest will naturally return after the conifers have been cleared. Another group is testing thinning the forests to see if it will result in better quality timber. These solutions may provide monetary incentives to encourage conservation.

Source: Yale Environment 360

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