Analysis of forest environment transfer tax and prefectural policies: typology of prefectural support to municipalities in the initial phase from 2019 to 2021 in Japan

In Journal of Forest Research
Peer-reviewed Article

The Forest Environment Transfer Tax (FETT), a scheme similar to Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), was introduced for Japanese forests at the national level in 2019 to address the challenges of climate change and promote management mainly in privately owned forests under the New Forest Management System (NFMS). Given insufficient human and financial resources, support by prefectures for municipalities is a key step forward, and we examined the policies of 47 prefectures. The study period is from 2019 to 2021. We conducted the following analysis: (1) categorization of prefectures by cluster analysis based on questionnaire surveys, and (2) quantitative analysis of the relationship between policy choices and characteristics of prefectures. Based on the analyses, we identified two typologies of prefectures based on policy selections and changes; (i) prefectures focused on specific policy items and (ii) those distributed the FETT budget relatively uniformly for each policy item, and further trends of changes based on temporal sequences in the early years of the scheme. The results suggest two further implications: geographical proximity among prefectures and the ratio of forestry production outputs among the overall outputs of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries may affect policy choices by prefectures, especially those of the former type of prefectures. The findings of this study can contribute to an understanding of the factors influencing policy choices in the context of PES-related schemes for forest management.