Japan to tackle hay fever by felling cedar forests near major cities


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A long time ago Japanese decided to replant the mountains that were becoming barren due to economic development and they planted the cedar trees, relatively fast growing and they created the pollen problem.

Good luck with the replanting!

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Destroy Mother Nature will ya

-20 ( +4 / -24 )

It would be nice to feel some results, particularly since the excess planting of cedar is a human-caused mess, and cedar-trimming activities have been in effect for the past 17 years.

“Tokyo launches cedar pollen reduction project in Tama,” 14 Nov 2006,

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It wasn't just denuded hills and mountains that were reforested with cedar, it was perfectly good native forest felled to do so. The article seems to suggest this cedar will be replaced by "varieties that produce less pollen". Does this mean other cedars engineered in some way?

13 ( +15 / -2 )

with plans to accelerate their reduction and replace them with varieties that produce less pollen.

Good. What I've been seeing more and more of is forestry being cleared to make way for vast fields of solar panels, usually Chinese-made and largely ineffective for anything beyond minuscule levels of energy production. Really glad to see this trend reversing as common sense finally prevails.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

And let me guess; replace the trees with solar panels and/or asphalt?

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Spending money on forecasts = bolting the stable after the horse is out but telling everyone you are going to do so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Replace the cedar with native forest. Stop overthinking it!

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Finally! hopefully they replant with something that produces less pollen but is still native to Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The Japanese government made the hay fever pollen monster and now they are going to solve it after many years.

But trees soak up vast amounts of water on mountains that create landslides.

So, new problem!

What are they going to replace the cut trees with?

They’ll have a plan after a couple

of disasters have played out, for sure…

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The article seems to suggest this cedar will be replaced by "varieties that produce less pollen". 

In the hills outside Ome, they've been felling cedar and planting cherry and maple trees in its place. I'm certainly not complaining about that.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

So correct me if I'm wrong but varieties of both cedar and cypress are native to Japan, namely Sugi (Japanese Cedar), Hinoki (Japanese Cypress) and Sawara . The comments here seem to imply they are imports.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hinoki smells awesome and looks 10 times better than Knotty Pine. There's only one home center in a 30 kilometer radius from us that sells Hinoki 1x4's and 2x4's. I recommend all to use it for DIY projects.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So the Chinese are buying up our water sources, and now we are cutting down trees, looks like resource poor Japan will be back in the exporting business! "sarcasm"

Would love to get my hands on some cheap timber for DIY projects, but I do hope they replant after they have cut them down.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It only took them a hundred years to realize their mistake. It’s going to take them decades to remove them. Most are in inaccessible mountainous areas. It seems like a bit of a pie in the sky idea that will be near impossible to complete.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Pollen can travel great distances. My first experience this year of hay fever and really bad allergic conjunctivitis which lasted for about one month.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How about you carry tissues.

cutting down decades/hundreds of year old trees because you sneeze for a few days is a wild solution

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

So correct me if I'm wrong but varieties of both cedar and cypress are native to Japan, namely Sugi (Japanese Cedar), Hinoki (Japanese Cypress) and Sawara . The comments here seem to imply they are imports

The problem is that post WWII, they replanted forests overwhelmingly with sugi and hinoki, rather than in the balance that is natural.

Hay fever was relatively uncommon in Japan until the early 1960s[citation needed]. Shortly after World War II, reforestation policies resulted in large forests of cryptomeria and Japanese cypress trees, which were an important resource for the construction industry. As these trees matured, they started to produce large amounts of pollen. Peak production of pollen occurs in trees of 30 years and older.[2] As the Japanese economy developed in the 1970s and 1980s, cheaper imported building materials decreased the demand for cryptomeria and Japanese cypress materials. This resulted in increasing forest density and aging trees, further contributing to pollen production and thus, hay fever. In 1970, about 50% of cryptomeria were more than 10 years old, and just 25% were more than 20 years old. By 2000, almost 85% of cryptomeria were over 20 years old, and more than 60% of trees were over 30 years old. This cryptomeria aging trend has continued since then, and though cryptomeria forest acreage has hardly increased since 1980, pollen production has continued to increase.[3] Furthermore, urbanization of land in Japan led to increasing coverage of soft soil and grass land by concrete and asphalt. Pollen settling on such hard surfaces can easily be swept up again by winds to recirculate and contribute to hay fever.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good news, but I hope they cut down more cedar trees. They can also develop the lumber industry better in Japan and export more.

Then replant the areas with trees that don't have severe pollen allergies like maybe fruit trees. Create orchards and get people to become fruit farmers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The problem is also inside cities.

I notice that many trees are the same in group proportions in cities, so obvious. And you see trimmer workers doing the exact same job because exact same trees.

Moreover, I am about sure the issue lies in many many many Japanese not going ever to countryside so their immune system is experiencing natural allergens only when pollen waves come.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Long overdue and should be nationwide, not just focused on the big cities.

The problem is if they will put together a complete plan using expert advice, or do the usual stupid things like dig up all the stumps and make a surprised Pikachu face when there is a fatal landslide.

I am no expert but I wonder if it would be wise to plant both bamboo and other trees. The bamboo will hold the soil down while the other trees grow.

Also, evergreens need to be avoided because they dry out the soil and that is also a cause of landslides when heavy rains hit and can't penetrate the hardened soil.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Australia had similar problem with respiratory deaths cause by winter burn off . This burning out during winter stopped during the early 70,s as result half the country burnt down. One of Newton law where their action there will be a reaction. This was clearly evidence stop burning will turn into mags infernos.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Better plant trees that don't burn easily.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Moreover, I am about sure the issue lies in many many many Japanese not going ever to countryside so their immune system is experiencing natural allergens only when pollen waves come.

Sounds like bro-science. Any actual scientists agree with you?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Proper building's, trains and public places with air filtration systems seem like a technological solution vs waiting 50 to 100 years

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes PLEASE, this hay fever DEADLY and relentless.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds great, as long as they replace them with mixed vegetation and not another monoculture.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trees produce the oxygen that we breath. Be carefull!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A large number of cedar trees were planted in reforestation efforts during Japan's period of rapid economic growth after the end of World War II.

I've read (a long time ago) that one problem is that after planting these trees, the import of timber increased and many of these forests aged considerably. And I understand that far more pollen is produced by older trees. If so, then replanting forests, reducing imports, and cutting the new forests for timber at an earlier age should reduce pollen levels to some extent.

Trees produce the oxygen that we breath. Be carefull!

Most oxygen comes from the oceans, but a fair amount comes from trees. So a steady program of cutting and replanting would make sense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That will work for those who suffer from tree pollen - what about those that suffer hayfever from grass pollen (I do) and flowers... you can't eradicate plants on that scale. It's crazy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Destroy Mother Nature will ya

Sugi plantations are like paddy fields made of trees. Some of the worst monocultures in the entire country. Very few plants grow in the little light available under sugi and there is pretty much zero wildlife. Up there with fish farms and concentrated meat production as crimes against nature.

I have personally heard angry comments from non-Japanese who buy land in the countryside and then moan when the conifer "forest" near them has been clear cut. This act should actually be celebrated. The land will fill with a likely much better mix of trees and bushes in a few years, even if left on its own.

Stuck-up woodworkers don't like it, but sugi is a fine material. Its easily dinged but much nicer to walk on than 90% of what gets sold as "hardwood flooring". Sugi is lightweight and the go-to for things like shoji paper screens. The outer legs of the shrine gate in the sea at Miyajima are made of sugi, so it can be plenty durable if you protect it enough.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Miyazaki and Kagoshima are the largest exporters of sugi in the country. A good chunk of the population here suffers yearly from the pollen. The trees are harvested and then new ones are planted. The ones that aren’t harvested will often set off landslides that, if near roads or houses, cost billions of yen to clean up and then pave with concrete.

After considering all of the expenses, subsidies and consequences of sugi monocropping it seems hard to justify supporting this industry any longer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Please cut down as many of the cedar trees as possible.

Use them to make more paper products so we can cut down on plastic.

I'd love to go back to pre-80s where paper bags were our only option at supermarkets.

Make more things out of these awful allergy producing trees.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

number one - this measure will be half-assed

number two - per usual, better late than never, but yeah.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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