Freelance lumberjack nurtures the forests

Adachi Shigeaki carries out logging work with a chainsaw. He determines which tree to cut and when, by the state of growth and the sunlight. May 20, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo

The roar of a chainsaw engine reverberates in the forest. A huge tree makes a thundering sound as it crashes to the ground between other trunks, sending dust flying. “Just what I aimed for,” says a satisfied Adachi (38) with a grin.

Adachi Shigeaki is a freelance lumberjack who cuts trees and nurtures forests from his bases in Sapporo and Asahikawa. He is hired directly by private landowners and local governments to manage mountain forests.

From logging to haulage, lumber and sales, Adachi carries out all types of forestry work alone. “I live off my skills; it’s really satisfying.”

In winter, he makes firewood from the timber he has logged. February 16, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo

Ever since he was a university student in Sapporo, Adachi took photos of nature, such as trees and forests, and actively exhibited them. With a desire “to work in global environment,” he moved to the town of Takinoue in the Okhotsk region and worked for a forestry company for three years from 2009, learning about the work on site.

In 2012, he became freelance with the aim of developing a deeper link between humans and nature in forestry, while lessening the burden on nature.

Adachi maintains a forest trail with friends who share his hobby of mountain biking. June 6, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo
Creating a trail with a mechanical digger. Utilizing the soil and vegetation from the land, Adachi creates trails that blend in with the environment. May 10, Toyako Town, Iburi subprefecture

The job of a lumberjack is diverse and includes planting saplings, pruning, thinning, logging, hauling and the like. Among these, Adachi puts special effort into creating forestry trails on which to transport the timber. His constant aim is to create, with a minimum amount of logging, “trails that feel good to walk on,” that are both practical and blend in with the nature.

In order to maintain abundant nature in the future, Adachi wants more and more people to become interested, and feels it is important that people actually go into the forests. “To be able to do that, trails to access the mountains and forests are important.”

It’s 10 years since Adachi become freelance, and the spread of the forestry he aims is for is now becoming visible. Visits from students and those who aspire to forestry have increased, as they “want to study the Adachi style of forestry”. “Before, I was in the minority, but it would be good if this way of thinking spread even more,” hopes Adachi.

Today, too, Adachi silently carves a path toward a future in which forest resources are protected and anyone can casually come into contact with nature.

Resting between work; lunch around a bonfire. February 24, Kiyota-ku, Sapporo


Kiyota-ku, Sapporo