Agriculture, forestry and fisheries system
“Trees producing food”, contributing to global food security
Log wood cultivated Shiitake produced from forest resources
In this area, log wood cultivated Shiitake production using Sawtooth Oak forests is carried out traditionally. Sawtooth Oaks provide the necessary nutritional source for the growth of Shiitake mushrooms and are used to produce log wood cultivated Shiitake food source. The Sawtooth Oak forest resource system that produces this food source is highly regarded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) because it contributes greatly to the aspects of nutrition and livelihood security in this region of limited arable land. Furthermore, by growing log wood cultivated Shiitake, the logging and regeneration cycle of the Sawtooth Oak forest is repeated and further prompts the renewal of the forests. Together with maintaining public functions of the forests such as recharging the water resources, it is linked to the preservation of the excellent Satoyama (rural area) environment and scenery.
An agriculture, forestry and fisheries system, including Japan’s number one log wood cultivated Shiitake production, sustainably maintained with the Sawtooth Oak forests and irrigation ponds
In the past, the people of this region had to contend with water shortages therefore they carried out rice paddy agriculture which utilized the natural landscape. The traces of such efforts are told by the “Tashibunosho Osaki Agricultural Landscape” which still exists today almost completely unchanged from the Middle Ages.
In the regions around the base of the mountains, the Sawtooth Oak forests are properly managed so that the recharged water resources nurture the rice paddy agriculture and diverse ecosystem. They form the beautiful scenery of the ‘Satoyama’ areas and farming communities. With origins in the manor remains of the 11th Century, the fact that the fundamental form of the 14th to 15th Century arable land and hamlets has been retained is highly acclaimed, and in 2010 the landscape was designated as an “Important National Cultural Landscape”.
Shichitoui cultivation does not overlap with the water usage periods and busy, labor intensive periods of the wetland rice cultivation. In the past it was grown widely within the prefecture given the high demand for the durable ‘Tatamiomote’ sheets that are made from it, but at present Kunisaki City is the sole production area for Shichitoui. Compared with Igusa (soft rush), Shichitoui is hard and has outstanding durability and is used for making tatami mat sheets for Judo halls and traditional cultural assets.
It is planted in early May, and then as it grows it is trimmed* and steadied by netting to prevent it from falling over. Approximately 90 days after it is planted, it is harvested in early August by hand using a sickle. The Shichitoui is split lengthways into two strips and then dried out over a period of 10 hours. Finally the strips are woven* into sheets. Shichitoui is a very labor intensive crop.
- the grass is trimmed once it is 1.3m high to keep it an even height
- Shichitoui is woven to make Tatamiomote sheets