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University Forests

Division of Forestry

The University Forests comprise three branches

  • (1)Tsukuba Experimental Forest (2.2 ha) is situated on the Tsukuba Campus. Its office manages the University Botanical Garden (3.4 ha) and also functions as the headquaters of the University Forests.
  • (2)In the eastern part of Nagano Prefecture, Yatsugatake Branch manages two separate forests, Yatsugatake Forest (93 ha) and Kawakami Forest (189 ha).
  • (3)The last branch is the Ikawa Forest (1,760 ha), an upstream catchment area of a tributary of the Ohi River.

Yatsugatake Forest Station
●Yatsugatake Forest (80 ha, 1400 m asl) is located in the foothills of the eastern slope of Mount Akadake, the highest peak in the Yatsugatake Mountains. Most areas of the forest are characterized by naturally regenerated secondary forests dominated by oak (Quercus crispula) and Asian black birch (Betula davurica) with Siberian hazel (Corylus heterophylla), and an intermediate moor dominated by alder (Alnus japonica) and Japanese flowering crab (Malus siboldii). Forest areas extended over the Yatsugatke Mountains until the early 20th century. However, land reclamation for farming was undertaken around the area of Yatsugatake Forest since the middle of the 20th century. As a result, the Yatsugatake Forest is recently distinguished as an isolated forest surrounded by farmlands.

●Kawakami Forest (190 ha, ranging from 1350 to 1790 m asl) is located on the east side of the Yatsugatake Forest in the western part of the Kanto Mountains. Seventy percent of the area of Kawakami Forest is managed forest with Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi), and the rest of the forest is similar to the Yatsugatake forest, dominated by oak (Quercus crispula), Asian black birch (Betula davurica) and many maple species.

●Rare species such as Primose (Primula sieboldii), Japanese dormouse (Glirulus japonicus )and Japanese Luehdorfia (Luehdorfia puziloi) under conservational protection are observed in the Yatstugatake and Kawakami Forests. These forests provide a good background for natural sciences and education for student practice courses (forestry, plant pathological mycology and soil science). In addition, undergraduate and graduate student research projects are conducted in both forests during the field-work season. Monitoring for long-term ecological research focusing on regeneration dynamics, matter flow and the economy of the forest ecosystem is carried out in permanent plots of both forests. Another research subject is the population ecology of the Japanese dormouse. Since 2004, boardwalks in the Yatsugatake Forest provie easy access to the the Yatsugatake Forest for field practices and research activities.

Ikawa Forest Station
●Ikawa Forest is located in the Akaishi Mountains of central Japan. Ikawa University Forest covers the upper stream of the Higashigouchi River, a tributary of the Ohi River, and forms a 1700 ha basin. The lowest elevation in the Ikawa University Forest is at the south end (900 m a.s.l.), whereas the highest elevation is the peak of Mount Aonagi (2406 m a.s.l.) at the northwest end.

●Vegetation types in the Ikawa University Forest change with the elevation. Broad-leaved deciduous forests mainly composed mainly of Quercus crispula and maple trees are located in the low-altitude areas, while subalpine conifer forests (e.g., Abies mariesii) are located in the higher-altitude areas (over 2000 m a.s.l.). Ikawa University Forest is a suitable site for studies and research on natural vegetation and wild animals because of extensive secondary forests (1350 ha).

●Median tectonic line and Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line, the largest tectonic lines in Japan, cross the upper stream of the Ohi River. Therefore, bedrock in the Ikawa University forest, fractured by active tectonics, is significantly weak. Several large landslides (> 5 ha) and multiple shallow landslides in the Ikawa University Forest supply large amounts of sediment. Debris flow also frequently occurs in the rivers and tributaries. Therefore, many field studies and observations on the geomorphology of high mountains have been conducted in the Ikawa University Forest.

Tsukuba Experimental Forest Station
●Tsukuba Experimental Forest is situated in the North Area of the Tsukuba Campus and consists of three separate fields, 3.4 ha in total. The altitude is 23 to 27 m and the soil is infertile loam derived from volcanic ash with a bed of clay at around 2 m below the ground surface. Tsukuba Experimental Forest also manages the University Botanical Garden and functions as the headquaters of the University Forests.

●This forest began as the Tsukuba Nursery Field for trees planted when the campus was relocated from Tokyo in 1973. Contribution to creating a green campus was the primary role of this section until the middle of the 1990's. Since then the role was changed to offering fields and techniques for research and education, so the name was changed to Tsukuba Experimental Forest in 2006.

●The University Botanical Garden was opened in 1994 with the aim to provide a place for relaxation, research and education. Currently there are 300 species of trees, mostly domestic trees, planted in the garden. Together with the nearby Hyotarou Pond and Tsukuba Experimental Forest, this garden provides the best nature areas on the Tsukuba Campus and is loved by many people. This garden is also intensively used for practices in wildlife biology, forestry, mushroom cultivation and field surveys.