SuMi TRUST Bank developed a forestry trust scheme as a means to solve social problems in forestry management and maintenance—such as the lack of personnel, inheritance issues, abandonment, and forests with unknown owners—and was entrusted to manage an individually owned forest in Okayama Prefecture’s Nishiawakura Village as the first commercial trust in Japan in August 2020. We will entrust management activities to forestry entities on behalf of the owner, manage revenues, and distribute dividends from earnings gained through the periodic thinning of forests and other sources.
The forestry trust is an SDG initiative unique to trust banks that promotes the restoration of forestry and the revitalization of local communities.
Initiatives in Okayama Prefecture’s Nishiawakura Village
The 100-year Vision of Forest Initiative
Approximately 95% of Nishiawakura Village is forest, of which 85% is planted cedar and cypress. Based on the understanding that revitalization of the forestry industry is necessary for the creation of a sustainable village, Nishiawakura Village launched the 100-year Vision of Forest initiative to pass on the trees planted by predecessors 50 years ago to future generations 100 years from now.
Building a Supply Chain for Wood
We have established a system whereby the village takes custody of the forest from the owner and carries out thinning and work road maintenance. With the help of local ventures, we are building a supply chain spanning production to sales by creating an environment where thinned wood can be processed and turned into products.
In addition, we are promoting the introduction of renewable energy that utilizes forest resources, such as biomass boilers and small hydroelectric power generators, to encourage the circulation of local resources and the economy.
Forestry Trust Business
To address the presence of landowners who live in urban areas but own forests in Nishiawakura Village, as well as forests whose owners are unknown, we have developed a forestry trust scheme that consolidates and enhances the efficiency of forestry operations.
Under the forestry trust, the forest owner (settlor) entrusts SuMi TRUST Bank (trustee) with all aspects of forest business management and administration, including forest planning and operation, management of business revenue, and distribution of dividends to the forest owner.
Smart Precision Forestry Initiatives
To further improve the productivity of the forestry industry, SuMi TRUST Bank is supporting the realization of smart precision forestry utilizing drones and ICT in collaboration with Shinshu University and other organizations. In addition, to revitalize the forestry industry, we are working with related parties to improve the entire supply chain in order to boost efficiency and add value not only upstream, but also midstream and downstream.
ICT-driven Smart Precision Forestry
Consolidation and expansion of raw wood production
- New forest management system
- Maintenance of forest land register
- Financial support
- High performance machine implementation
- Priority road network development
- Increase shipment lot size
Improvement in processing productivity
- Scale and streamline lumber and plywood mills
- Implementation support for high performance processing machines
- Implementation support for facilities that improve distribution efficiency
Expand demand for and promote the use of wood
- Improve environment to encourage the use of wood
- Capture demand for imported materials
- Promote biomass utilization
- Capture demand for alternative materials
- Implement measures to promote mid- and high-rise wooden buildings
- Promote exports