Photo 1: Monument commemorating the birthplace of the University of Tokyo Forests. The University of Tokyo Chiba Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
It was 123 years ago in 1890 that the Tokyo Norin Gakko (Tokyo Agriculture and Forestry College) merged with the Imperial University, marking the start of the Faculty of Agriculture and the genesis of agricultural education at the University of Tokyo, which links through to the present Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Four years later in 1894, the first-ever university forest was established as an affiliated institution of the Faculty of Agriculture, in Kiyosumi, situated in the south-eastern region of the Boso Peninsula of Chiba Prefecture (Photo 1). This university forest is today known as the University of Tokyo Chiba Forest and in 2014 it will mark its 120th anniversary. In this edition of "Campus Tours" I would like to take a look back at the time and effort that have been poured into the forests of the University of Tokyo for further education and research (Photo 2).
Photo 2: A scene from long ago of practical work in progress. Taken from the Journal of Practical Silviculture, The University of Tokyo Chiba Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
The Chiba Forest was established in 1894 with the granting of 336ha of mountain forest by the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. Subsequent additions to the forest were made over the years and it currently extends over 2,170ha. The Kanto Hiking Trail runs through the Chiba Forest, which also looks out over the Pacific Ocean, and is accessible to the public. On this trail it is possible to see natural forests of fir and hemlock fir (Abies firma and Tsuga sieboldii), which tell the history of the Boso Peninsula, and also to experience the plantation of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) that was planted in 1835 (Photo 3).
Photo 3: Sakuragao Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) forest, planted 179 years ago. The University of Tokyo Chiba Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
The second-oldest forest of the University of Tokyo is the Hokkaido Forest, which was established in 1899 in the southern area of what is today Furano City. The Hokkaido Forest is the largest of the University of Tokyo's affiliated institutions, stretching over 22,715ha around the highest peak of Mt. Dairoku, named in honor of the memory of the fifth president of the university, Dairoku Kikuchi (Photo 4). More than 80 percent of the Hokkaido Forest is composed of natural forest, with trees in excess of several hundred years of age (Photo 5). It was in these natural forests that in 1958 Nobukiyo Takahashi (affectionately known as the "mud turtle" and who went on to receive the Duke of Edinburgh's Prize) began a large-scale forestry management experiment, known as "Rinbun-segyo-ho," a method of stand-based natural forest management that seeks to gather resources from natural forests while improving their overall condition. This project continues today in the Hokkaido Forest.
Photo 4: Looking from Jukaitoge over the autumnal natural forest. The University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 5: The natural forest in summer, seen from Mt. Dairoku. The University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Moving into the 20th century, the next University Forest to be established was the Chichibu Forest in 1916. This forest lies in the mountainous regions of Oku-Chichibu, covering an area of 5,812ha and ranging in altitude from 530m to 1,980m. As a means of engaging in research into cool temperature forest ecosystems, a permanent 7ha plot was established for monitoring purposes. Along the Irikawa Logging Railroad Hiking Trail, which is open to the public, you can still see the rails that remain of the original railroad, which was used to transport logs from deep in the forest (Photo 6). Hikers can also see the monument marking the origin of the Arakawa River, a first-class river (Photo 7).
Photo 6: Footpath where the rails from an old logging railroad remain. The University of Tokyo Chichibu Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 7: Monument marking the origin of the Arakawa River, a first-class river (this is the origin for management purposes, the actual source is in a different location). The University of Tokyo Chichibu Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
In 1922 the Aichi Forest was established in Seto City in Aichi Prefecture, which is today known as the Ecohydrology Research Institute. Prior to being established as a university forest, this region had been almost entirely deforested, due to excess logging for firewood. However, thanks to the efforts of the people working at this site it has been possible to regenerate a total of 1,292ha of forest, with now only a rocky outcrop remaining as a reminder of the period when the area was entirely deforested (Photo 8). One of the main activities of the Ecohydrology Research Institute over more than 80 years since 1929 has been the long-term measurement of run-off from the mountainous areas. The data that has been accumulated over the course of more than eight decades is of global significance (Photo 9).
Photo 8: A granite mountain ridge bleached white by weathering, leaves the only trace from a period of deforestation. Ecohydrology Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 9: The Shirasaka gauging weir that is the symbol of the Ecohydrology Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
One forest owned by the university that is completely different in nature to the mountainous forests described above is the Fuji Forest, established in 1925 and now known as the Forest Therapy Research Institute. Although small in scale, covering 38ha on the shores of Lake Yamanaka, including the land leased from Yamanashi Prefecture, the institute was also expected to function as an alternate base for the university in emergency after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Following its establishment it was used as a place for providing enrichment programs to students of the University of Tokyo. It is also said that the term used for the voluntary work by students in the forest-"Arbeitdienst"-is the origin of the Japanese loanword arubaito, or part-time work. There is still a location in the institute that is known as "Kozaigahara," in memory of the 10th president of the university, Yoshinao Kozai, who was particularly popular among students (Photo 11).
Photo 10: The "Lakeside Plaza" on the shores of Lake Yamanaka. Forest Therapy Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 11: "Kozaigahara" the last few remnants of grassland. Forest Therapy Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Later in the 1920s the Tanashi Forest was established in 1929, becoming home to the first Laboratory of Silviculture within the Faculty of Agriculture. Given its convenient location in Nishi-Tokyo City, today the forest is used for education and research focused on forest science, including regular practical activities. Covering a total of 9ha this is the smallest of the University Forests. It is home to trees that were replanted when the Faculty of Agriculture was transferred from the Komaba Campus to the Yayoi Campus and is also very popular among local residents as an urban forest in the heart of the city (Photo 12). The office building, which is still in use, is said to have been designed with input from the 14th president of the university, Yoshikazu Uchida (Photo 13).
Photo 12: The arboretum that is popular among local residents. The University of Tokyo Tanashi Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 13: The forest office with its long and distinguished history of more than 80 years. The University of Tokyo Tanashi Forest. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Of the current seven University Forests, the one with the shortest history is the Arboricultural Research Institute, situated in the town of Minami-Izu at the southernmost tip of the Izu Peninsula. The institute was established in 1943 in the middle of the Second World War for the study of tropical and sub-tropical trees for special use. It covers 276ha and this year marks the 70th anniversary of its foundation. It features forests composed of unique trees, such as the planted eucalyptus forest (Photo 14), and is also home to a greenhouse heated by hot-spring water, where approximately 350 tropical and sub-tropical plant species are grown and cultivated (Photo 15).
Photo 14: A rare planted eucalyptus forest. Arboricultural Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
Photo 15: A greenhouse heated using hot-spring water. This is a popular spot at the research institute. Arboricultural Research Institute. © The University of Tokyo Forests.
I hope you enjoyed this brief campus tour through the forests of the University of Tokyo that have been nurtured over the course of a 120-year history. I have focused mainly on the history of these institutions here. They are places that can be used for education and research concerning various topics, such as organisms, nature and landscape. I hope that you will take an interest in these precious forests that are in the care of the University of Tokyo.