A special project in Miyagi Prefecture is hoping to restore areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami using traditional Japanese methods of eco-system conservation and management.
Working the land with bear hands is better than using heavy machinery, explains Tsubasa Iwabuchi, of Tohoku University, who is responsible for the “Green Renaissance Project”.
“If you clear land by mechanical movers, you destroy the layer structure of the soil, which means you need to restructure it. That can take a long time and even longer for people to make a living from it. […] We also flooded the rice paddies with water to dilute the salt. In about one month the salinity decreases to a level where it is okay to grow rice. In other cases they use chemicals and that can harm the surrounding eco-systems,” he says.
In the project, which is developed in cooperation with Satoyama Initiative, participants say that restoring landscape and livelihoods is done best when they are both treated with the same respect.
Similar eco-friendly monitoring projects are rolling in other regions of Tohoku, like Kesennuma, Ishinomak and Sendai City.