Mysterious Circle Forest In Japan Is Result Of A Bizarre 50-Year-Old Experiment

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Ever seen trees grow in perfect concentric circles? Normally, I would’ve said no, because nature is random and chaotic and there’s nothing we can do about it.

However, thanks to some seriously impressive gardening done by a few green-fingered scientists in Japan, there are now a couple of forests that are perfectly circular and really very satisfying to look at.

The cedar trees have grown in the Miyazaki Province, in southern Japan, over the last 45 years, and are the result of a 1973 project that aimed to examine tree spacing and growth.

This ‘experimental forestry’ saw the researchers plant trees in 10 degree radial increments, to form 10 concentric circles. Interestingly, it also shows that the forests grew in a convex shape, proving that spacing definitely has an impact on how high the trees will grow.

You can even see the trees on Google Maps, check it out:

circular forestGoogle

A Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries document obtained by Spoon & Tomago explains that the project began in 1973. It originally called for the trees to be harvested after five years.

Thankfully, for those of us who like aesthetically pleasing things, the forests have lasted 40 years longer than intended, and Japanese officials are now considering saving and protecting the circular forests for the long term.

While Japan works to save this small, circular forest, elsewhere in the world deforestation is happening at an alarming rate.

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, for example, has reportedly reached the highest rate seen in 10 years.

Data shows this disturbing escalation is due to illegal logging as well as the encroachment of agriculture on the rainforest, as advised by Brazil’s Environment Minister Edson Duarte.

Satellite pictures taken from the 12 months leading up to the end of July 2018 revealed how 7,900 square kilometres (3,050 square miles) of the forest has been cleared, equivalent to approximately five times the area of the city of London.

According to Greenpeace Brazil, the figures mean around 1.185 billion trees have been brought down.

As reported by The Guardian, Greenpeace Brasil’s public policy coordinator, Marcio Astrini, said:

It is a lot of destroyed forest. The situation is very worrying… what is bad will get worse.

He added:

A moment will arrive in which the accumulation of this deforestation will cause an effect in which the forest will stop being a forest.

The scientists calculate this is between 20-30%. We are very close to the 20%.

In a statement, Duarte has called upon the Brazilian government to improve policing in regards to the Amazon rainforest:

We need to increase the mobilisation at all levels of government, of society, and of the productive sector to combat illicit environmental activities.

Deforestation is one of the primary causes of global warming, accounting for over 15 per cent of yearly emissions of heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.