Japanese trees: the characteristics of an extraordinary forest heritage

Japanese trees: the characteristics of an extraordinary forest heritage

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When it comes to trees, not everyone knows that the diversity they have Japanese trees they can guarantee fans is truly impressive, especially in the southern parts of the country.

The reason is quite simple: throughout Japan, but mainly in the south, rainfall is quite abundant and the soils are very rich in nutrients, so much so that historically most of the natural areas here are quite wooded.

Of course, the different altitudes also contribute to the diversity of Japanese trees: the forest types vary from an almost subtropical approach to a cool and temperate one, giving rise to many microclimates which can obviously only reflect positively on the different environmental characteristics.

In addition to the above, Japan has a particularly extensive shape, from north to south. Therefore, the species found in the country range from boreal to tropical ones… as well as everything in between!

Japanese trees, an incredible heritage!

Going deeper into the above, we were able to anticipate, for example, we can see how in Japan the "forest on the plain" has almost disappeared. Therefore, almost the entire wooded area of ​​the country is located in the mountains and ... there is very little to be surprised about: 73% of the Asian nation is mountainous and about 67% is wooded. The proportional proximity of the two data does not seem to be a coincidence, because in general, the mountain areas are not built up (they tend to be more unstable) and therefore the mountains show a greater rate of forest.

An impressive statistic, therefore: when we talk about Japan we are talking about a country that is wooded for almost 2/3 of its extension and despite everything, it hosts 130 million permanent residents.

The truth is that much of these forests are not natural, but are instead organized with specific timber trees. In the south sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) e hinoki (Chamaecyaris obtusa) are the main species used for this purpose, with their plantations often making up most of the forest on a given mountain. These plantations are made up of trees of the same age that usually don't need to grow long before being cut down.

Furthermore, these forests lack biological diversity, being unsuitable for most plant species and therefore not a good habitat for many animals either.

Hence, a fact that can be read to a very different extent: the truth is in fact that only 1% of Japanese forests can be considered of ancient and primordial origin. This is the case of the Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu forests, which are home to the northernmost expanse of evergreen broadleaf forests in Southeast Asia.

Here the forests are dominated by species of the god family beeches (Fagaceae), of the laurels (Lauraceae) and of the asterids (Theaceae). Numerous other trees are also present, such as conifers and a wide range of deciduous trees, albeit in a minority.

The impression of these forests is almost subtropical, but in the far north these forests are found in temperate and warm climates. Typical genera found here include the Quercus (subgenus Cyclobalanopsis), Lithocarpus, Castanopsis, Cinnamomum, Machilus, and Camellia.

From Japanese trees to Bonsai

The trees Japanese evidently represented a great source of inspiration for the creation of real works of art, the Bonsai.

In short, when you are in front of Indoor Bonsai and Outdoor Bonsai the amazement is generally a lot. In fact, if we are surprised when we find ourselves in front of a large tree that has, perhaps, hundreds of years behind it, the same can be said when instead we find ourselves in front of accurate miniature versions of the same giant trees. Exactly, the Bonsai.

Also widespread in Italy - but, often, only remotely comparable to Japanese natural works of art - one can be amazed by admiring the shapes and details of small pines or maples, completely identical to the centuries-old ones, with the only difference of the relative proportions. So much so that, if the Bonsai are placed with a mountain or a beautiful sky as a background, the small plants will seem to rise and transform into giant trees.

It is precisely for this reason that we believe that Bonsai are a real form of art, in which the "canvas" is the tree. They also have an aestheticism similar to other traditional arts such as Japanese gardening and ikebana (flower arrangement), and also for this reason there is a growing number of people from all over the world who declare themselves interested in Bonsai, especially in Europe. .

Video: Jabal Moussa: Archaeology and heritage in the Lebanese mountains (June 2022).


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