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Biodiversity:Social Responsibility Activities
– Ena Forest Projects (Conservation of company-owned forest) –

Ricoh and local residents’ collaborative efforts to conserve Ena forest for future generations 100 or more years into the future
— Contribution to global environmental conservation, raising the next generation, and community development —

The Ricoh Group has been engaged in activities to conserve a forest in Ena, a city in the southeast part of Gifu Prefecture. The forest is located on the premises of a plant operated by Ricoh Elemex Corporation, a manufacturing subsidiary of the Ricoh Group. Ricoh Elemex purchased the vast tract of land in 1963 to build its manufacturing plant. In addition to the site used for the manufacturing facilities, the acquired property includes a huge undeveloped area encompassing more than 40 hectares. The Ricoh Group started its forest conservation activities on this site in 2010 to mark the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10) held in Nagoya, Japan. The activities reflect our gratitude to the local community for its support of our manufacturing facility over the past almost 50 years as well as our commitment to maintaining harmonious relationships with our neighbors.

Biodiversity targets and evaluation of Ena Forest
Target
Aiming for a forest where diverse organisms can live by maintaining an ecosystem in which the target species (Luehdorfia japonica, Nannophya pygmaea) can live.

Actual results
Since 2010, the habitat of target species (Luehdorfia japonica, Nannophya pygmaea) has been confirmed.

image:Activity area for Ena Forest Projects

A vegetation survey conducted in cooperation with C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust in the fall of 2010 revealed that the forest near the Ena Plant is home to a wide variety of hygrophyte plant species, including endangered ones, and has developed a unique ecosystem thanks to the lack of human interference over a very long period. Ricoh Elemex employees interested in conservation and like-minded others started forest conservation activities in 2011. Later, in April 2014, aiming to utilize the precious forest resources together with the local community, we launched the Ena Forest, Nakasendo Satoyama Conference, which consists of representatives of local residents, local businesses, and nonprofits as well as representatives of Ricoh Group companies. The organization has since been leading the efforts by local volunteers and Ricoh Group employees to conserve the forest and its rare species as well as conducting tree thinning for forest management and other efforts. As a thank you, participants in each volunteer activity event receive a gift certificate that can be used in shops operated by the Ena Tanpopo Social Welfare Organization, including a bakery, produce store, and local specialty store. As the forest is open to the local community, children also visit the forest to take part in educational programs where they learn about and connect with nature, while adults can be found enjoying relaxing walks through the woods.
Through these activities, the Ricoh Group will continue to make positive contributions not only to environmental conservation but also to the development of the next generation and the invigoration and development of local communities.

 

Goals of the Ena Forest Projects

Make the woodland a community forest where local residents can enjoy the great outdoors while minimizing their footprint

  • Conservation of diverse species including rare ones (global environmental conservation)
    Major activities: Removal of weeds and dead/damaged trees, and periodic vegetation surveys
  • Contribution to environmental awareness-raising for local children (raising the next generation)
    Major activities: Nature education programs for children, nature observation events, craft workshops, and training programs to develop forest conservation leaders
  • Contribution to local residents’ physical and social well-being (community development)
    Major activities: Development of walking trails, forest management volunteer programs, and walk-for-health events

image:Forest management volunteer activity

image:Forest management volunteer activity
Forest management volunteer
activity

image:Children looking at a plant with curiosity
Children looking at a plant with
curiosity

image:Local residents enjoying the fantastic view from the observation point during a walk-for-health event
Local residents enjoying the
fantastic view from the
observation point during
a walk-for-health event

Surveys and Evaluations to Understand the Ecosystem

We regularly conduct large-scale vegetation surveys in the Ena Forest to ascertain the state of conservation and improve it.

  • Survey Report ①
    In a vegetation survey conducted in September 2010, 289 species of plants belonging to 85 families were identified, and six endangered species were identified. The forest as a whole is mainly composed of charcoal forests of Quercus serrata and Quercus acutissima. The whole is centered on the fuelwood forests of Quercus serrata and Quercus acutissima, and precious species such as Utricularia caerosa, Magnolia stellata, and Alder alder inhabit the wetlands and their water sources. As for insects, scarlet dwarfs were found in the wetland area, and Japanese luehdorfia were found at the forest edge in early spring.
  • Survey Report ②
    In the 2016 vegetation survey, 337 species of 96 families (more than 2010) were confirmed, and 10 endangered species were also confirmed. Compared to 2010, the vegetation and its diversity are maintained and are considered to be about the same or better. The naturalization rate has increased from 6.2% for 18 species to 7.7% for 26 species, and naturalized plants that were found only at the forest edge in 2010 can now be seen near the entrances and exits of forests and along their forest roads. Although this is not a major problem at present, we are carrying out conservation activities to prevent the growth of alien species caused by bringing in seeds from the outside As a result of conducting an insect survey focusing on the target species, the Japanese luehdorfia and the scarlet dwarf, 28 species of dragonflies, 23 species of butterflies, 15 species of beetles, and 11 other species were confirmed. Since we did not conduct an insect survey at the beginning of the activity, we cannot compare them, but the target species of Japanese luehdorfia and scarlet dwarf tended to increase. In addition, the results of the vegetation survey and insect survey conducted in 2016 will be reported by holding a debriefing session in front of the people who participated in the live forest-building activity (conservation activity), and the results of the activity with everyone who participated. It was a good opportunity to share the knowledge we gained and learn that it is a forest with abundant vegetation. These surveys are conducted in collaboration with local animal and plant conservation groups.