Akita International Symposium: Oct. 28-31, 2000

In September 1999, the prefectural Governor of Akita, Japan, Mr. Sukeshiro Terata, proposed a collaboration with the IMFNS to organize an international symposium that would highlight participatory processes for achieving sustainable forest management -- in particular the Model Forest approach.

The Akita International Symposium on the Grand Design for Forest Resources will take place in Akita, October 28 to 31, 2000.  The Symposium will attract over 1,000 participants and will showcase the Model Forest approach to forest management planning. It will be one of the key events in a very intensive year of work in Akita prefecture to plot out the long-term sustainable management of Akita's forest resources. The international panel will include Model Forest practitioners from Canada, Russia, and the United States, as well as the IMFNS. The presentations, which will cover a broad range of Model Forest activities, will give Symposium participants a well-rounded view of what Model Forests do. The international panel will be balanced by a high-level speakers' group from Japan, including representatives from the Forestry Agency of Japan, World Wildlife Federation Japan, the Forest and Forest Products Research Institute, the Japan Overseas Forestry Consultants Association, Akita University, etc. 

Akita prefecture is located on the northwestern coast of Japan's main island of Honshu. It is renowned for its beautiful Japanese cedar forests, as well as its beech forests that include the Shirakami Mountains -- a world natural heritage site of virgin beech forest. Akita prefecture contains a mix of private (54%) and public (46%) lands, with plantations covering nearly 50% of the total forest.   Of the 60,000 private forest land holders, only 2% have more than 20 ha, making it very challenging for families to manage their forests profitably. The Akita Symposium will draw on the experiences of the Model Forest Network to consider new approaches to sustain both forests and rural communities.