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01 May 2012: Fukushima Begins Restoration
Of Coastal Forests Destroyed by Tsunami

Fukushima Prefecture will soon begin a nine-year restoration of coastal forests devastated by last year’s tsunami, including the planting of 4.6 million seedlings over a 90-mile stretch of coastline. With the

As Fukushima Cleanup Begins,
Long-term Impacts are Weighed

As Fukushima Cleanup Begins,
Long-term Impacts are Weighed
Japan is launching a large-scale cleanup of the fields, forests, and villages contaminated by the Fukushima disaster. But, as Winifred Bird reports, some experts caution that an overly aggressive remediation program could create a host of other environmental problems.
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financial assistance of other prefectures, the Fukushima government will begin collecting pine cones this year that officials hope will grow into the seedlings of new pine forests within two years. While the tsunami triggered by the March 2011 earthquake swamped coastal forests in six prefectures, none was hit harder than Fukushima, where 70 percent of flooded forests were destroyed, according to a report in The Asahi Shimbun. Even trees in areas that survived the disaster are expected to die because of the high levels of salt that saturated the soil. In some areas, including Matsukawaura beach in the town of Soma, the presence of thick forests served as a breakwater, preventing even greater damage inland from tsunami waves and debris. “Without the pine forest, our community would have been destroyed,” said one 70-year-old woman who farms the area. “I am grateful to our ancestors [who planted the forest].”


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