About Abandoned Bamboo Forest in Kitakyushu

Revitalizing the Sustainable Society From [Bamboo Proliferation] to [Bamboo Commodity Asset]

About Abandoned Bamboo Forest in Kitakyushu

Do you know Kitakyushu city has a very large area of Bamboo Forest?

The gross area was 1.050 ha 20 years ago.
(1ha equals to 100 ×100m, as big as the size of a stadium. (The playground of Mikuni World Stadium is 105×65m))

It has grown to 1.580ha now.
40 percent of its gross has grown in the blink of an eye.It is as big as 1.580 stadiums. (Data in 2016)The size of 530 stadiums together has increased.

Bamboo propagates itself at an enormous rate, and broad-leaved forests have definitely been encroached by them.
When broadleaved forests such as Beech, Oak and Chestnut Oak drop their leaves, nutritious mineral water is produced. And they spread their roots so largely that they can make a whole mountain stable.
Broadleaved forest can root in so deeply that it protects mountains.

Bamboo has very low in nutrients. It stores up water within itself.
Moreover, bamboo grows out its underground stems only 50cm under the surface.
A mountain cannot retain water. That means it cannot produce good quality mineral water.
Once water vein is broken, drinking water and agricultural water are to be affected big time.
Natural environment is maintained by presence of healthy broadleaved forests and various animals and plants.

Mountain covered with shallowly grown underground stems can easily have landslide by torrential rain.
If bamboo forests keep proliferating, the possibility of landslides increases
A low altitude area of Mt. Sarakura too has begun to be encroached by bamboos.

Oxygen concentration level had once gone zero in Doukai Bay of Kitakyushu in 1942.
It was called [Sea of Death], in which fish couldn’t survive and thick grease oil were floating everywhere.

Sectors of business, government and education of Kitakyushu city had endeavored over and over to fix the worst environment in our history.
It took 60 years to be able to now stand for an advanced environmental capital.
At this present rate, it is going to be much worse than it was in 50 years ago.
If that happens, all the hard work they put in to become an environmental capital would come to nothing.
We cannot let the proliferation of abandoned bamboo forest grow out any bigger.

We must not forget that we have responsibility for being in charge of the present environment, for our children and grandchildren. Also we are in charged for our descendants of 10, 20 and 100 generations ahead.

Issues in Ouma Area

①Population is Aging.
②Chronic Shortage of Successors and Personnel.
③Activities for helping each other have weakened due to lack of union members.

We once had 300 accounts of union members, but the number has kept falling every year. We have less than 100 members now with a sum of 2 unions.
And the aging population is very critical. It is going to be very hard to keep producing long term with the average age increasing past 70.
It is very difficult to find successors now, because of its hard labors through out a year. Therefore there are many producers who retire alone.

After a producer passes away or retires, there would be no one to take care of a bamboo forest. Consequently, the bamboo proliferation would start.
A bamboo grove is very easy to go out of control within only 2~3 years of no care. The landowner can make a limited area to be better condition just only for a preparation to sell, and the rest is easy to be abandoned.
Likewise, not many people have extra time and energy to take care of another person’s forest. It is very hard to find full time Takenoko (bamboo shoot) farmers nowadays.
Most of the producers are forced to have multi jobs such as a part time farming, part time office work, rice farming, general farming, mushroom farming, flower farming and cattle farming etc.

About Abandoned Bamboo Forest

A bamboo forest will easily goes out of control within only 2~3 years of no care.
What is troublesome is that it will die standing in 10years.
Because of the dead standing bamboos, fallen leaves on soil are not decomposed because of a lack of enough sunlight.

Also when bamboos are overthrown by a typhoon, they get tangled and become dense so that you cannot see 3m ahead clearly.
It is so dangerous that even a person with enough experiences would avoid going into those area.

We can easily notice that only abandoned bamboo forests are growing out of 20m~30m every year.