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  • Japan (Head Office)
  • North America
  • Latin America &
    the Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Middle East
  • Central Asia
  • East Asia
  • Asia & Oceania

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North America

Latin America & the Caribbean

Please see details of our activities in Latin America & the Caribbean here.

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Central Asia

Mitsubishi Corporation

Brazilian Experimental Project in Tropical Forest Regeneration

The aims of this project are the cultivation of native trees (virola surinamensis and ceiba pentandra) and the gradual regeneration of the ecosystem

The Miyawaki method is helping to restore an area of equatorial lowland tropical forest

The Amazon region of Brazil is the world's largest lowland tropical forest zone, and has been called the "green lungs of the Earth" Yet in recent years the forest area has been shrinking rapidly because of over-logging and excessive development.

Today, the depletion of the Amazon lowland forest has become an environmental issue of global significance. In 1992, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) launched a project to restore an Amazonian tropical rain forest using the Miyawaki method. The site for the project is an abandoned area of infertile wasteland.

The first step was to grow 90,000 potted seedlings, and prepare the area selected for planting. Deep trenches were dug and then filled with soil, bark and wood fragments.

Normally, the soil layer under a tropical forest is shallow. If the ground is left bare, the soil, and the nutrients that it contains, will be washed away during the rainy season. Therefore, the use of planting mounds, and the Miyawaki method of planting a mixture of Balsa and Parapara, which are both dominant local species, resulted in a growth rate of 1.5 to 2 meters in just half a year.

The first planting area shortly after planting (1992, Brazil)
The first planting area shortly after planting
(1992, Brazil)
The first planting area after seven years (1998, on the grounds of the Belem Factory of Eidai do Brazil)
The first planting area after seven years
(1998, on the grounds of the Belem Factory of Eidai do Brazil)

Three years after the start of the experiment, the trees had grown 6 to 12 meters, with dominant trees reaching over 15 meters

Planting in the first area was followed by a year-long effort that resulted in the planting of 300,000 potted seedlings of 25 to 30 species. The 240 hectares of bare land used for this experiment had been abandoned as wasteland. Since then, a group of local companies and citizens have continued to carry out additional tree plantings. The pace of growth has been remarkable. Just three years after the start of the experiment the trees were 6 to 12 meters tall, and some dominant trees had reached over 15 meters. As the world's first forest regeneration experiment in a lowland tropical forest area, this project has attracted considerable interest among ecologists, forestry experts and other organizations in Brazil and overseas.

Today, balsa trees, which initially grew rapidly, have begun to slow, while other species such as virola surinamensis and ceiba pentandra have begun to catch up. In just a few years, these species are expected to reach 10 meters or more. The development of the forest superstructure has been accompanied by a proliferation of small animals and insects that break down material on the forest floor, over 20 to 25 years, developing into a completely natural forest ecosystem.

NOTE: For the Brazilian project, a wide variety of trees were used in intensive mixed plantings. The mix of trees consisted mainly of local natural species, but ranged from leader to climax species (see Table). The tallest trees grew to 20 meters over seven years, resulting in a stand volume of almost 400 cubic meters per hectare at D2H. However, the rapid growth (see Fig. 2) of a small number of dominant species such as balsa (Ochroma pyramidae), which made up a small fraction of the total, resulted in an unstable stand structure with a division between the upper and lower strata.

A list of planted trees for reforestation in Brazil
No. Species Name        
1 Euterpe oleracea 16 Inga alba 31 Eugenia cumuni
2 Calophyllum angulare 17 Cassia mangium 32 Eugenia moleccensis
3 Virola guianensis 18 Diplotropis purpurea 33 Cariniana integrifolia
4 Virola surinamensis 19 Swartizia leptopetala 34 Eschweilera matamata
5 Virola melinoni 20 Swartizia acuminata 35 Terminalia tanibouca
6 Ceiba pentandra 21 Cassia alata 36 Rizophora mangue
7 Bombax spruceanum 22 Simaruba amara 37 Bagassa guianensis
8 Ochroma pyramidae 23 Trattinickia burserifolia 38 Brosimum ovatifolium
9 Sterculia speciosa 24 Cedrella glaziovii 39 Joannesia princeps
10 Theobroma sylvestris 25 Carapa guianensis 40 Hevea brasiliensis
11 Theobroma grandiflorum 26 Swietenia macrophylla 41 Aspidosperma desmanthum
12 Macrobium bifolium 27 Cedrella odorata 42 Cordia goeldiana
13 Pterocarpus amazonicus 28 Cedrella fissilis 43 Tabebuia serratifolia
14 Macrolobium acaciaefolium 29 Tapirira guianensis    
15 Ormosia getuilana 30 Spondias lutea    

A list of planted trees for reforestation in Brazil

  1. Euterpe oleracea
  2. Calophyllum angulare
  3. Virola guianensis
  4. Virola surinamensis
  5. Virola melinoni
  6. Ceiba pentandra
  7. Bombax spruceanum
  8. Ochroma pyramidae
  9. Sterculia speciosa
  10. Theobroma sylvestris
  11. Theobroma grandiflorum
  12. Macrobium bifolium
  13. Pterocarpus amazonicus
  14. Macrolobium acaciaefolium
  15. Ormosia getuilana
  16. Inga alba
  17. Cassia mangium
  18. Diplotropis purpurea
  19. Swartizia leptopetala
  20. Swartizia acuminata
  21. Cassia alata
  22. Simaruba amara
  23. Trattinickia burserifolia
  24. Cedrella glaziovii
  25. Carapa guianensis
  26. Swietenia macrophylla
  27. Cedrella odorata
  28. Cedrella fissilis
  29. Tapirira guianensis
  30. Spondias lutea
  31. Eugenia cumuni
  32. Eugenia moleccensis
  33. Cariniana integrifolia
  34. Eschweilera matamata
  35. Terminalia tanibouca
  36. Rizophora mangue
  37. Bagassa guianensis
  38. Brosimum ovatifolium
  39. Joannesia princeps
  40. Hevea brasiliensis
  41. Aspidosperma desmanthum
  42. Cordia goeldiana
  43. Tabebuia serratifolia
Three years after the start of the experiment, the trees had grown 6 to 12 meters, with dominant trees reaching over 15 meters
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