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Message from Director


Yooichi Kainoh, Ph.D.
Yooichi Kainoh, Ph.D./Director

 The Agricultural and Forestry Research Center (AFRC) was created as one of the education centers at the time when the University of Tsukuba was founded in 1973. It was a distinctive organization in which a university farm and experimental forests have been integrated in one organization for the first in Japanese universities.

 Since that time, the center has conducted a very wide array of activities. What distinguishes our center is not only the formal operational characteristics of the organization, but also has the breadth to single-handedly address the main disciplines of agriculture and forestry, regional characteristics that allow the cultivation of both northern and southern crop types, and experience with forming community exchange and outreach groups as well as implementing diverse social-benefit and community exchange programs. In addition, the distinctive nature of the center is symbolized by our hosting of international symposia for over 30 years as an Associated Center (AC) designated by the UNESCO; Publication of Journal of Developments in Sustainable Agriculture (JDSA), a J-Stage-based online, English-language academic journal to deliver the outcome of symposium results; and implementation of the Agricultural Education for Sustainable Development (Ag-ESD) internship program for graduate students.

 Underlying these characteristic AFRC activities is the development of the center as a place for practicing the holistic thinking that "the totality of a system is more than the arithmetic sum of its parts, which were divided by reductionism". Modern science, in contrast, has developed primarily under the reductionist idea that "all natural phenomena can be explained with physicochemical laws alone."

 In this framework of holism, we show that it is not enough just to scientifically analyze the mechanisms of growth and maturation in the plants and animals being studied and discover their principles and laws. In addition, we need the wisdom to create new "value" upon considering the individual plant or animal as a system.

 Especially in agriculture and forestry education at the university level, we believe it is extremely important to systematically comprehend a broad range of phenomena spanning the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, including the historical background of agriculture and forestry education at universities in Japan and other countries; the establishment of sustainable farmland and forest ecosystems; and cultural aspects of agriculture and forestry disciplines, especially the close relationship of food culture to climate condition and religion.

 To accomplish these purposes, we strive to make AFRC into a place where a reductionist perspective and a holistic perspective, are intricately combined and interleaved. Consequently, the ultimate goal of AFRC is to be a place where the internal energy for agriculture and forestry studies will converge toward the "values" of education in our colleges and graduate schools.

 We hope you take advantage of the AFRC and look forward to your suggestions about how to make it better.

April, 2015 
Yooichi Kainoh, Ph.D.