Why Could Traditional Japanese Daisugi Methods Save Thousands Of Trees?

Asim Mudgal
Asim Mudgal
Asim Mudgal is an aspiring writer creating space for self-development and inclusivity.

In recent times, there has been an adverse impact on the climate owing to deforestation and industrial activities. Eventually, scientists and the World Health Organization are calling for ways to make it more accessible for ordinary folks to understand traditional ways of preserving nature. Luckily, we have a few great examples that persist around the globe, and Japanese Daisugi could be one of them. 

The Japanese Daisugi technique was developed over the hills of Japan in the late 14th century to combat the shortages of seedlings. Eventually, there was a demand for Kitayama Cedar, straight and knot-free lumber. The condition of the slopes was steep. Hence, maintaining and planting trees became difficult with little flat land. Eventually, the goal of the Japanese indigenous community started building up a horticulture technique called Daisugi, giving way for arborists (one who specialises in the care of individual trees) to reduce the number of plantations, making the harvest cycle faster and producing comparatively denser wood. The plan was to plant more trees on top of the existing ones, resulting in the evolution of straight and round timber known as "Taruki," which is primarily used in the roofs of Japanese teahouses.

The story of Daisugi made headlines in 2020 after a tweet went viral from Wrath of Gnon stating that harvesting takes around 20 years and "old tree stock" can grow up to 100 shoots at a time. Interestingly, the base tree lasts for 100 years and makes the planting of wood easier. More accurately, the base gives way to several planks of wood. The Daisugi technique produced 140% more flexible lumber than standard cedar and made the lumber 200% more dense and stronger. Further, the density of lumber helps in building rafters and roof timber. An ancient bonsai technique, practised long ago in the Samurai tradition, ultimately made space for generational dependence. It is said that to enjoy the plant, one generation has to wait for the next as the process takes 20 years. Hence, this generational bonding paves the way for more sustainable development. Moreover, deforestation is less in the area. 

Traditionally, the ancient Japanese approach saves many of the trees from being cut down and makes them ecologically knowledgeable. Hence, much of the biodiversity is being preserved in this global economic declination. Simultaneously, between 1990 and 2020, the global forest area decreased by 178 million hectares, which poses a threat to livelihoods and people depending on forests for survival. However, several efforts are being made to preserve biodiversity. Japanese Daisugi traditional methods could be among them.