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9.1 Forest Planning System
9.2 Forest-land Development Permission System
9.3 Forest Owners' Association System

9.1 Forest Planning System

Forest planning system is intended to ensure stable demand and supply of forest products and advanced performance of forest functions for public benefit taking into account the long growth period of forest and through promotion of sustainable forest cultivation and forest productivity enhancement. It makes policy implementation effective by showing the basic direction of government policy on forest and forestry, and at the same time provides direction for forest management to forest owners.

In order to promote various improvement of the forests, forest planning units are instituted in both national and non-national forests based on river basin as a basic unit for management. The planning system promotes collaborative improvement through planning at the same time for the same period and covering similar contents in both national and non-national forest plans. The following are the major forest plans in Japan:

· Basic Plan on Forest Resources and Long Range demand and Supply Projection on Important Forest Products - The Plan which is formulated by the government in accordance with Forestry Basic Law.

· Nation-wide Forest Plan - The 15-year plan which is produced every five years in accordance with Forest Law. It is formulated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries through decision by Cabinet Council in compliance with the "Basic plan and projection".

· Regional Forest Plan - The 10-year plan drawn up every five years in accordance with Forest Law. It is formulated by prefectural governors for non-national forests and by director of regional forest office for national forest in compliance with the Nation-wide Forest Plan.

· Forest Management Plan - The five-year plan which is voluntarily prepared by each forest owner for their forests and authorized by the prefectural governor in compliance with the Regional Forest Plan.

· Local Forest Improvement Plan - The 10-year plan which is prepared every five years in accordance with Forest Law. It is formulated by municipal government appointed by the prefectural governor, about municipal forest management.

Fig. 1: Forest Planning System

9.2 Forest-land Development Permission System

The Forest-land Development Permission System is designed to ensure that forest-land development activities do not lead to negative implications for various forest functions which have significant roles for local communities as well the life of the nation.

This system applies to non-national forests and forests other than protection forests. Under it, any development activity which exceeds one hectare and may change the features of land such as collection of rocks or tree roots, cultivation and so on requires the prefectural Governor's permission. In reviewing an application for permission, the Governor needs to assure himself/herself that the proposed development activities will not lead to or increase risk of:

· Disasters such as soil erosion or landslide in surrounding areas.
· Floods in downstream areas.
· Severe problems of water supply.
· Other severe environmental damage in surrounding areas.

9.3 Forest Owners' Association System

9.3.1 Mandatory operations
9.3.2 Optional operations

Forest Owners' Cooperative Associations, Production Forest Owners' Cooperative Associations and the Federation of Forest Owners' Cooperative Associations are collective organizations of forest owners that have been established by forest owners according to the cooperative principles based on the Forest Owners' Cooperative Association Law (1978 Law #36) with the aim of improving and fostering forests and increasing the productivity of forests, thereby contributing to the development of the national economy. The activities of these associations for their members are as follows:

9.3.1 Mandatory operations

· Guidance on forest management for members

· Acceptance of consignment of work such as logging, planting and weeding from the members

· Acceptance of trust with the objective of member's forest management

· Protection activities such as control of forest blights and prevention of forest fires

9.3.2 Optional operations

· Lending of funds and providing of materials that are necessary for forestry and forest-related industries or for other living expenses

· Shipment, processing, storage and selling of commodities including forest products produced by members

· Building of forest roads and facilities that can be utilized collectively by the members such as collective sales shops and lumber factories.

· Provision of Forest Management Plan for the forests owned by the members.

There are 1,455 associations as of 31 March 1995, and have total 1,718 thousand members. The area of forest held by the members is approximately 10 million ha, which represents 73% of non-national forest (other than prefectural forests).

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