Tengu Forest - Sanda-shi, Hyogo Prefecture / Satoshi KAYA - Flickr Creative Commons

Disaster-resistant forest building using Green Tax

The typhoon that hit Hyogo in 2004 brought serious damage to the local areas including landslides and fallen trees due to wind. In an effort to pass on a rich environment of greenery to the next generation, Hyogo Prefectural Government introduced the “Prefectural Green Tax” scheme (an additional prefectural resident tax designed to preserve and renew the green environment) for society as a whole. This scheme supports efforts to preserve and renew the green environment that is an asset for all Hyogo citizens, by having them all participate in the programme. At the same time, Hyogo government has been continuing with a programme to “build disaster-resistant forests” and “enhance the green urban environment to improve society’s resilience and environment.”

Case study

Disaster-resistant forest building program using ‘Prefectural Green Tax’ revenues (HFA Priority 4)

Context

As a consequence of the changes in social and economic environment, forests in Hyogo have been deteriorating. The green environment in urban areas has also been decreasing greatly due to the increase of artificial materials such as asphalt pavement. As a result, in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (GHAE) of 1995, fires kept spreading in Hyogo’s densely populated urban areas. The typhoon that hit Hyogo in 2004 brought wide-area flooding not only in upstream river areas but also in downstream areas caused by debris flows.

Coping Strategy

The “green” areas such as forests, village mountain areas, parks and streets serve a variety of beneficial public functions including prevention of flooding, drought, landslides, debris flows, global warming, climate change, air pollution, fire spread. They also create peaceful spaces for citizens. Since the efforts to preserve and renew the green environment in Hyogo Prefecture have relied on the activities of a limited range of people such as forest landowners, forests and woods in Hyogo have fallen into ruin.

To address the situation, Hyogo Government introduced the “Prefectural Green Tax” system to obtain funds from a wide range of Hyogo’s citizens and develop disaster resistant  forests. At the same time, Hyogo began to provide subsidies for programmes to improve the forest environment and sidewalks, and for the cost of equipment and hardware necessary for the installation of simplified disaster prevention facilities. These moves led to the establishment of a structure to improve the green environment with the participation of all the citizens of Hyogo. It is based on promoting voluntary forest building through local community support for the preservation and reproduction of the “green” environment.

Since the support of citizens was indispensable for Hyogo to conduct the programme, the government has been releasing updates on progress and its effects by using its official website, publications and the media. Furthermore, Hyogo has been disseminating relevant information extensively to its citizens by presenting panel-based public displays, showing videos and animation-based picture-stories at various events, and by installing project information boards at development sites and holding project site tours for citizens. 

Results

Following the implementation of its Stage 1 Disaster Reduction Programme (2006 to 2010), Hyogo has been carrying out the Stage 2 Disaster Reduction Programme (2011 to 2017) in a well-planned approach, including upgraded measures to reduce potential drift wood and landslide damage. 

Measuring Success

The data on sediment erosion and investigation of roots was analyzed from a specialist’s perspective by the “Project Review Committee” which was composed of academic experts.

The efforts made by this committee showed that these programmes an improved landslide disaster prevention effect while serving to reduce potential damage to farm products. Hyogo continues to review this programme’s effects at the disaster resistant project sites with a view to upgrading examination data.

Potential for replication

Starting 2014, Hyogo has been pursuing a project to create buffer forests for disaster reduction titled “Mie Forest and Green Tax.” Even in developing countries, it is considered a high priority to appeal for the importance of the green environment to citizens and to ensure medium- to long-term implementation by asking a wide range of local citizens to share the costs..

Information of Contact Person

Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department

Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)

1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan

Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082

Mail: murata1@dri.ne.jp

 

Mr. Naoki Nakatsu – Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division,

Disaster Management & Planning Bureau,

Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department

5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan

Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914

Mail: naoki_nakatsu@pref.hyogo.lg.jp