Supporting the AKAYA Project in Japan
Since 2005, the Nikon Group in Japan has been supporting the AKAYA Project, which aims to restore biodiversity and build a sustainable regional environment.
The focus of this project is the Akaya Forest, a 10,000-hectare National Forest that is located mainly within Minakami Township in Gunma prefecture, but extends into Niigata prefecture. This project involves a range of activities being implemented jointly by the government, local residents and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J), using scientific, empirical forest-restoration techniques to restore biodiversity.
As part of the AKAYA Project, starting in 2014 measures have been implemented to improve the habitat of the critically-endangered Japanese Golden Eagle; the Nikon Group has donated binoculars and digital cameras that have been used for monitoring the Golden Eagle population. In addition, through the continued use of "Akaya Forest Castanets" in workshops for children and other venues, Nikon is also assisting in initiatives to make efficient use of wood material (thinned wood, etc.) periodically removed from the forest.
Investigation of Golden Eagle Behavior in the Forest with Rich Biodiversity
The Akaya Forest is a habitat for animals regarded as both rare and umbrella species, including the golden eagle, mountain hawk-eagle, and Asian black bear. As part of the AKAYA Project, since 2014 an experiment has been conducted, the first of its kind in Japan, with the aim of improving the habitat of the golden eagle (Japanese golden eagle, designated Endangered IB) in the forest. This initiative requires that individual golden eagles over a kilometer away be identified and their activities recorded, and Nikon binoculars, field scopes, and digital cameras are put to use for this purpose. In 2016, golden eagles living in Akaya Forest bred successfully for the first time in seven years, and valuable records were able to be made accordingly.
Akaya Forest Castanet Workshop
Nikon holds Akaya Forest Castanet Workshops to educate people on biodiversity through Akaya Forest. In the year ended March 31, 2017, castanet workshops were held at Mito-City Environmental Fair 2016 and Minato City's Corporations and the Environment Exhibition 2016.
The castanets are created using thinned wood and timber from fallen trees in Akaya Forest and a portion of the proceeds are used for the AKAYA Project.
Planning and Creation of "AKAYA NOTE"
"AKAYA NOTE" is an educational booklet on the environment which presents the biodiversity of Akaya Forest through a variety of stories and an abundance of photographs and illustrations. Nikon planned and created the booklet in cooperation with people involved in the AKAYA Project.
As children read the booklet, they learn about the mechanisms of the natural world and their roles. They also gradually come to understand the importance of biodiversity while enjoying a variety of stories which occurred in Akaya Forest as well as fun and amazing facts about animals.
To date, some 7,000 "AKAYA NOTE" booklets have been delivered to educational institutions.