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Integrated Environmental Studies Course

2016-12-21 On-Site Research Training Research Meeting in Ena City

The research meeting with a theme "The Future of Ena City" was held successfully on 10 December 2016 in Ena City, Gifu. There were thirty-three (33) participants comprised of students and professors, stakeholders from local government; non-profit organizations (NPOs) and others. This activity was the final part of On-site Research Training (ORT) in Clinical Environmental Studies I&II course organized and supported by Education and Research Center for Sustainable Co-Development of Nagoya University.

The research outputs are product of intensive field survey held in Ena City on 9-11 June 2016. The graduate students conducted diagnosis or identification of problems and local issues to come up with a theme-specific research. Data collection was done through series of field surveys; interviews with key persons from local government, private organizations, non-profit organizations, and local people; as well as published reports and official statistics. Consultations and discussions with professors were undertaken to develop an integrated prescriptions or recommendations towards sustainability of Ena City.

Aside from oral presentations, posters were also displayed and panel discussion was held to stimulate sharing of ideas, perspectives and comments from various stakeholders. The highlights of the research meeting are:

  1. The masters students focused the planning and promotion of Ena City through migration and tourism activities. Such promotion capitalizes on the rich and beauty of natural environment.
  2. The doctoral students looked into the roles of NPOs in forest management in Ena City. The decline of forest industry in Japan led to lack of interest of the forest owners to maintain their forests. Nowadays, forest management activities are driven by subsidies from the government.
  3. Three important 'prescriptions' are drawn to address the issue of forest management; a) while the NPOs put efforts to establish self-financing system, it is also important to consider other options to generate funds to ensure the sustainability of forest management activities; b) forest management focuses on large scale forests but there are small scale forests that need to manage accordingly; c) there is a need to strengthen collaboration between NPOs and forest owners cooperatives in terms of forest management.
  4. The stakeholders expressed their interests in the research output as it deeply tackled the challenges confronting their local community.

The ORT activities not only diagnosed and provided prescriptions to the issues of Ena City, but most importantly, it equipped the students with valuable learning experiences to be able to deal and analyze issues that transcend local society and environment. The diverse research backgrounds and disciplines of the students also complemented the need for interdisciplinary approach to research.

Written by:
Marianne Faith G. Martinico-Perez
PhD Student
Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University

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