Materials’ Forests

Contributing to communities and society through the maximization of public functions

Materials’ Forests

Mitsubishi Shokai, the predecessor of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, started purchasing forested land in Yoshioka, Okayama Prefecture in 1873, and continued its acquisition, mainly in Hokkaido, to become a major forest land owner with 14000 hectares (140 km2) throughout Japan. The company’s forests were originally purchased with the goal of supplying the pit props for tunnel supports in the company’s mines. Along with the closure of mines in Japan, the role of such forest land changed significantly. This issue features what is happening with the materials in the forests, and the role of them. 

Maximizing the public functions of forests

Forests have many public functions. They produce timber, preserve the global environment and biodiversity through the absorption of carbon dioxide, prevent landslides and cultivate water sources. In order to fully and sustainably exploit such matters, we need to monitor the state of forests and ensure the correct appropriate management.

Forest lands owned by Mitsubishi Materials are spread throughout Japan. Therefore, the condition of the locations and the environment and the functions of each forest are different. Mitsubishi Materials classifies its forests into four zones and manages them in accordance with the functions to be enhanced in addition to the forest-specific management methods that are already in place.

Appropriate management of the forests

Mitsubishi Materials performs forest management by dividing the forests into four categories (zoning):
(1) Timber resource recycling zone: Sustainably producing lumber from needle-leaf forests.
(2) Water and ecosystem conservation zone: Maintaining the natural forest by watering and converting it into a natural forest if it was originally artificial and planted by man.
(3) Health and cultural usage zone: Creating a model forest and facilities for walking and other forms of forest recreation.
(4) Selective natural forest cutting: Producing useful broad-leaf trees in a sustainable manner by felling trees in naturally regenerated forests within a range not exceeding their growth

To maximize the functions required by each zone, we follow the management policy formulated for each, and strive to ensure beautiful forests that are rich in function under the slogan, “ forests that will lead the way for other forests throughout Japan.”

Appropriate management of the forests
Forest on a mountain ridge / Daily monitoring activities / Timber from thinning to be supplied / Naturally regenerated forest remain as the water and ecosystem conservation zone - Hayakita Forest / Big table at the corporate cafeteria of the new head office / Forest development seminar with the participation of invited Swiss foresters

Contributing to society through the stable supply of timber

Mitsubishi Materials produces approxi­mately 10000 m³ of timber every year, mainly in timber resource recycling zones and selective natural forest cutting zones. The timber is supplied as a raw material for a variety of products, from building materials through to wooden biomass fuels. We thus contribute to building a recycling-oriented society.

In timber resource recycling zones, where we manage artificial forests, the cycle of felling, planting and growing, thereby ensuring a sustainable, stable supply of lumber from needle-leaf trees such as cedar and Japanese larch. In addition, in selective natural forest cutting zones, we aim to achieve a sustainable supply of timber from broad-leaf trees. To do so, it is necessary to promote thinning and selective cutting within a range not exceeding their growth, as well as appropriate forest management. However, since natural forests have a wider variety of species of trees compared with artificial forests, it is necessary to have a large knowledge and a broad range of skills to manage the entire range. Therefore, striving to improve knowledge and skill through initiatives such as inviting Swiss foresters with a wealth of knowledge on the management of natural forests to teach members of the team. As a part of the use of resources, timber from broad-leaf trees produced in our company-owned forests is used for the tables at the company head office.

Using company-owned forest lands where people in the community can interact with the wonders of nature

Forest lands owned by Mitsubishi Materials are open to the general public as forest recreation sites. These include the Citizens’ Forest, a trail running course and a camping field. Through such activities, we contribute to society.

In addition, tree planting festivals are organised, tree growing festivals and other environmental events are held in the forests to highlight the value and fun that forests provide to visitors. Through these and other activities, we proactively reach out to local residents.

Using company-owned forest lands where people in the community can interact with the wonders of nature
Naturally-grown Japanese primroses / Large Japanese larch trees / White-tailed eagle living in a company-owned forest

Being a company focused on sustainability and capable of fully exercising its public functions

Mitsubishi Materials performs forest mana­ge­ment that maximizes a wide variety of public functions through the zoning of com­pany-owned forestlands. On September 1, 2015, a forest certification was obtained under the new standards of the Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (SGEC) for a total of nine forests in Hokkaido, including the Hayakita Forest.

Effective use of natural resources and business for society is based on our corporate philosophy, “For People, Society and the Earth.” Proper management of forests will be continued for the preservation of the global environment, and other activities supported by the local community and society.

Being a company focused on sustainability and capable of fully exercising its public functions