Press ReleasesNippon Paper Industries and Nippon Paper Lumber Develop Large Scion Plantation for Specified Mother Trees of Japanese CedarCutting Seedlings to Be Planted in the 18,000-hectare Company-Owned Forest in Kyushu to Ensure Reforestation after Regeneration Cutting

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.
Nippon Paper Lumber Co., Ltd.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Fumio Manoshiro; hereinafter, "the Company") and Nippon Paper Lumber Co., Ltd. (President: Haruo Fujisawa; hereinafter, "Nippon Paper Lumber") announce the commencement of an initiative to develop a large scion plantation in a bid to facilitate the quick propagation and full-scale production of cutting seedlings taken from specified mother trees of Japanese cedar (see note 1) to assist reforestation of the Company-owned forest in Kyushu. The Kyushu region is known for its abundant forest resources and Japanese cedars are widely chosen. The Company has taken 824 cutting seedlings from specified mother trees of Japanese cedar, which were propagated using an exclusive technology, and planted them on land in Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, which is owned by the Company's Yatsushiro Mill (Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture). The scion plantation will be extended gradually, aiming to develop a space for 14,000 cutting seedlings by 2019. Test plantation is due to start from next year with a view to producing and shipping approximately 280,000 cutting seedlings per annum from 2023 and onwards.

Japanese cedars and white cedars that were planted in artificial forests in Japan after the war are now reaching the stage where they can be used to make logs and lumber. The Company-owned forest in the Kyushu region, which is approximately 18,000 hectares, is also becoming more crowded with each year with trees approaching their cutting cycle. Under the theme "Sustainable Forest Management," the Company plants trees after logging to ensure the healthy cycle of forests and to level out the composition of the age class. In accordance with a national policy that stipulates the wide use of cutting seedlings with better growth ability instead of traditional seedlings, to boost the CO2 absorption effect of forests, for reforestation the Company actively selects specified mother tree of Japanese cedar. The Company also deems that it is extremely important to propagate them in order to ensure a stable supply.

It is the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that makes a decision as to which Japanese cedar mother trees to register as specified species that meet the criteria established by the government. They must have excellent growth ability as well as lower pollen counts. Twenty-one lines are currently registered in the Kyushu region.

In 2015, Nippon Paper Lumber was appointed as a Licensed Propagator of Specified Plants by the governor of Kumamoto Prefecture (see note 2) and has been working on the propagation of specified mother trees of Japanese cedar, which were provided by national research and development agency Kyushu Regional Breeding Office of Forest Tree Breeding Center at Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute. When making cuttings in the regular fashion, it is difficult to produce more cuttings than the number of original cuttings provided. It also requires time to propagate. However, by dividing the scions provided and accelerating rooting using the Company's exclusive Photoautotrophic Culture Technology (see note 3) before planting, it was possible to produce ready-to-plant 824 cutting seedlings from total 140 cuttings originally taken from 14 species of specified mother trees of Japanese cedar. Ten cuttings of each lines were provided. Nippon Paper Lumber is working on another seven species of specified mother trees provided this year, in a bid to propagate more cutting seedlings.

With technical support provided by the Company's Agri-Biotechnology Research Laboratory, and the assistance of seedling producers based in Kumamoto Prefecture, Nippon Paper Lumber will start the production of exclusive seedling containers using cuttings (see note 4). Nippon Paper Lumber intends to make a positive contribution to the stable supply of cutting seedlings in the Kyushu region without limiting supply only to the Company-owned forest, as well as to successful forest renewal using propagation according to demand trends and proactive marketing.

As a comprehensive biomass company shaping the future with trees, the Nippon Paper Group is determined to continue to pursue business development based on sustainable forest management to contribute to better living and cultural progress through the effective use of biomass resources.

Note 1: Specified mother trees

Under the Amending Part of the Act on Special Measures for the Promotion of Thinning, etc. in Forestry (hereinafter, "Act on Special Measures for Thinning, etc."), and to improve the CO2 absorption capacity of forests, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries makes a decision as to which trees with outstanding characteristics relating to growth are registered as specified mother trees. The established criteria include growth ability (roughly one and a half times the growth ability of traditional species), male flower epiphytic (lower pollen counts, roughly less than half of the pollen counts of ordinary Japanese cedars), and quality of materials (rigidity and straightness of the trunks).

As a basic guideline, the Act on Special Measures for Thinning, etc. stipulates the development of production systems that enables the production of seedlings using scions taken from specified mother trees, and plant those in artificial forests in the future unless there are other specific needs in the region.

Note 2: Licensed Propagator of Specified Plants

Licensed Propagator of Specified Plants are those who were appointed by local governors in accordance with the Implementing Method of Licensed Propagator of Specified Plants prescribed in the fundamental guidelines of the Act on Special Measures for Thinning, etc. The license was granted after the creation and submission of plans concerning the propagation of seedlings with excellent growth ability taken from mother trees (Specified Plants Propagation Business Plan).

Note 3: Photoautotrophic Culture Technology

Photoautotrophic Culture Technology is a method that utilizes high-concentration carbon dioxide, water and light are used instead of sugar, which becomes a source of energy after tissue culture. This culture method elicits a plant's photosynthetic capacity.

Note 4: Seedling containers

In seedling containers, seedlings are grown in the soil placed in the open-bottom containers designed to prevent roots from becoming tangled. Thanks to the support pots, they can be planted throughout the year. Rooting is also known to be superior in comparison to bare-root seedlings. For these reasons, they are suitable to one sustained operation where logging and shipping are carried out simultaneously with site preparation and planting, and this is expected to become a method of low-cost forestation.

Scion garden developed for specified mother trees of Japanese cedar