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Refueling Satoyama Woodland Restoration in Japan: Enhancing Restoration Practice and Experiences through Woodfuel Utilization

Toru Terada, Makoto Yokohari, Jay Bolthouse and Nobuhiko Tanaka

Keywords: BIOMASS; CLIMATE CHANGE; SATOYAMA WOODLANDS; URBAN ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION

Abstract

Urban and peri-urban satoyama woodlands have become focal points of restoration throughout Japan. Prior to the abrupt shift to fossil fuels in the 1950-60s, villages coppiced these woods to produce a sustainable supply of wood fuel, a process that also sustained a dynamic woodland structure rich in biodiversity. Currently, amidst a “satoyama renaissance,” thousands of volunteer groups are restoring management to abandoned woods. Yet while volunteers are the main drivers of the satoyama renaissance, volunteer management tends to be limited in spatial extent and focused on the “parkification” of woodlands. Through a case study of four satoyama restoration scenarios we found that reintroduction of coppicing for wood fuel—“refueling”—can play a role in addressing climate change through fossil fuel substitution. We suggest that this literal refueling of satoyama restoration could, in a more metaphorical sense, help to refuel restoration efforts by strengthening both restoration practice and the authenticity of restoration experiences.

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