- Aso Program
Practical activities including tree planting, undergrowth mowing, etc.
In February 2006, Higo Bank purchased a 52-hectare area of forest in the Mt. Aso area, and named it the Aso Panoramic (Taikan) Forest. Every year, we perform thinning, tree planting, and undergrowth mowing. To date, over 10,000 tree-planting volunteers have helped us plant over 120,000 trees.
Rice Paddy Flooding Program
In February 2011, we partnered with Aso City to begin a rice paddy flooding program, with the aims of reducing the abandoned rice paddies and recharging groundwater resources through their utilization. The terraced rice paddies we revived are called the Aso Mizukake Tanada. Each year in May, we plant rice in these fields, and then harvest our crop in October. The method for agriculture used in these fields combines the traditional rice growing methods of planting and harvesting by hand, and then drying the cut rice ears in the sun, along with minimal use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to minimize any harmful effects on the natural environment.
Supporting grassland conservation volunteer activities
Wachigiri (the perimeter cutting of grassland to prevent forest fire) and noyaki (the burning of dead grass) in the grasslands of Aso are vital tasks for the maintenance of the environment necessary for livestock grazing, feed grass harvesting, landscape conservation, and ecological diversity promotion in the Aso area. In recent years, however, the decreasing number of livestock farmers and free-range cattle in the region has made these practices increasingly difficult to continue.
Since 2015, this organization has been cooperating with the Aso Green Stock Foundation to train Wachigiri and Noyaki support volunteers who will bear the responsibility of the conservation and restoration of the Aso grasslands in the future.