The Oji Group conducts the forest plantation business in ten areas in six countries. As of the end of FY2020, the total area of overseas forest plantations was 260,000 ha. The area of conservation forests principally for preserving biodiversity and basins was 130,000 ha.
In addition, we use the forest certification program to implement appropriate forest management in consideration of the environment, society and economy.
The forest certification acquisition rates in FY2020 were 91% for overseas forest plantations. The overseas forest plantation business secures wood raw materials, absorbs and fixes CO2, and creates jobs and industry, contributing to the creation of truly enriched and sustainable local communities.
At Oji Group forest plantations, planted trees that are ready to be harvested are processed into papermaking raw materials (woodchips) and lumber products. Woodchips are locally processed into pulp or transported to Japan on dedicated woodchip ships.
In a forestry ecosystem, trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and fix carbon in their trunks, branches, leaves, and roots while they grow. Dead trees, leaves, and branches are not decomposed and emitted into the atmosphere as CO2 immediately. They are accumulated in the soil as soil organic matter containing carbon and emit CO2 gradually as they decompose. Harvested trees do not emit CO2 immediately. Harvested trees are used as lumber for houses and furniture or as paper, retaining carbon over a long period of time. In addition, the use of construction waste materials and unused wood as biomass energy, which is an alternative to fossil fuels, leads to the reduction of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels.
The Oji Group promotes measures against climate change problems by increasing forest plantations while replanting trees after harvesting to maintain forests, thereby absorbing and fixing CO2 (Sustainable Forest Management). We also fix CO2 by reusing paper and paperboard products that are manufactured from plantation wood (Paper Recycling).
Massive forest fires have become common occurrences in many parts of the world, a critical global issue that needs urgent global solutions. Cenibra, which has forest plantations and a pulp mill in Brazil, has introduced an innovative forest fire prevention and fighting system using artificial intelligence (AI) for their 250,000 ha forests. The company has 38 watchtowers equipped with 360 degrees rotating cameras. When the AI detects smoke and fires, the monitoring room notifies fire crews nearest to the site of the incidents. They start firefighting immediately. The AI-equipped cameras are more efficient than human eyes and can locate the accurate fire site within 1-2 minutes. Cenibra has reduced forest fire risks significantly.
Asia Agriculture and Forestry Technology Centre engages in research and technology development for maintaining and improving the productivity of plantation trees in a locally-based manner, based on forest plantation projects in Southeast Asia.
Improving the quality of plantation trees and increasing the crop yields by planting fast-growing, high-quality varieties lead not only to the improved profitability of the forest plantation business but also to the protection of natural forests, reducing their illegal logging. Asia Agriculture and Forestry Technology Centre is striving to improve the quality of fast-growing tree species, such as eucalyptus and acacia, based on breeding technologies that were cultivated in various countries.
Fast-growing plantation trees absorb a lot of nutrients. In addition, the use of heavy machinery for harvesting work causes concern that the soil will be hard and affect the growth of plantation trees. To operate the forest plantation business sustainably, it is necessary to keep the soil in a sound state by compensating for the loss of the nutrients that were absorbed by the harvested trees and improving the physical properties of the soil by means of tilling and other measures. For this purpose, we conduct nutritional analyses of soil and plantation trees and fertilization and tilling tests of them in our efforts to protect the soil environment.