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sacred forests

The Significance of OECMs

The editorial in the May 1st issue of Jinja Shinpō was about OECMs, the regions that are not nature reserves but that are recognised under the international biodiversity treaty as serving to preserve biodiversity. It talked a bit about the background, and then noted that, over the last couple of years, there have been a lot of articles on this topic in Jinja Shinpō, including the series on sacred forests. The editorial said that part of the reason was that sacred forests had been given as possible candidates for OECMs… Read More »The Significance of OECMs

Sacred Forests as OECMs

The February 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō had another article about OECMs. These are, to recap, areas of land that are not set aside as nature reserves but, because of the way they are used, serve as a significant refuge for biodiversity. The article reported on two meetings: the latest meeting of the government working group, and a meeting at Jinja Honchō. The government meeting discussed the details of the proposed system for registering OECM areas in Japan. The trial period is coming to an end, and the system will… Read More »Sacred Forests as OECMs

Sacred Forests as OECMs

There were two articles about sacred forests in the October 10th issue of Jinja Shinpō: one on the front page, and one on the back. The back page carried the last article in the series of sacred forest articles, and it was essentially a retrospective. The front page article was about OECMs under the Convention on Biological Diversity. As I have mentioned before “Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures” refers to areas that are not nature reserves, but which still make an effective contribution to preserving biodiversity. The Japanese government has… Read More »Sacred Forests as OECMs

Sacred Forests of Musashi Province

The article about sacred forests in the August 29th issue of Jinja Shinpō reported on the ongoing activities of a group that is investigating the sacred forests in the area covered by the ancient Musashi province. That area covers much of Tokyo and Saitama prefectures, and a bit of Kanagawa — I live in what was Musashi. Although it covers a lot of extremely urban areas, the northern mountains suffer from depopulation, so it is quite a diverse area. The group is made up of volunteers, and the people who… Read More »Sacred Forests of Musashi Province

The Burdens of Sacred Forests

The August 29th issue of Jinja Shinpō had an article written by the chief priest of a jinja in Shiga Prefecture in response to the articles about sacred forests. The jinja is in a town, facing onto the main road through it; the precincts cover about a hectare, and there is a good forest, including a keyaki (Japanese zelkova) with a trunk 4.5 metres in circumference. The woodland is designated by the city as a protected woodland, and people often visit it. However, maintenance is a major task. The trees… Read More »The Burdens of Sacred Forests

Laws on Sacred Forests

There have been a couple of articles in Jinja Shinpō on the legal situation around sacred forests, written by a priest who is also a lawyer. (These articles were in the July 4th and July 11th issues.) The first article drew attention to the fact that sacred forests were declining, and that this was generally due to decisions taken by the jinja themselves. The sacred forests are, after all, private property, and so other bodies cannot normally cut them down. (There are occasional exceptions for government-mandated projects.) There are two… Read More »Laws on Sacred Forests

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