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"The forest industry will keep falling into decline because there is no way of recording profit," a major forestry company said.  (Source photo by Nikkei)

Aging forests likely to hinder Japan's decarbonization efforts

Old trees detract from disaster prevention and CO2 absorption effects

JUNICHI SUGIHARA and KONATSU OCHI, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Planted forests are aging noticeably across Japan, with more than half now 50 years or older, making the country more vulnerable to typhoons and other natural disasters and also undermining its decarbonization efforts.

In 2019, Chiba Prefecture was hit by widespread blackouts as a result of Typhoon Faxai, which toppled trees in neglected forests, bringing down electrical wires and utility poles. If thinning is neglected, trees in a forest cannot get enough sunlight to grow sturdy and there is not enough undergrowth whose roots hold the soil together.

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