Trees of Misawa Japan

     I was stationed at Misawa Air Base in Northern Japan from March of 98' until March of 2001'. Misawa AB is located in a primarily agricultural part of Northern Japan. Aomori prefecture is on the northernmost tip of Honshu island. The winters bring a lot of snow to the area, and the temperatures vary quite a lot. The interior mountains are very cold, while the coastal plains do not get very cold. The entire area sees a lot of precipitation all year long, and as a result there is an abundance of lush vegatation.
     I didn't spend a lot of time identifying trees in Northern Japan (Misawa Air Base). It was quite difficult, due to the lack of suitable english language guides. I wasn't able to locate a single english language text on trees of Western Asia. Let alone Japan, or Northern Japan. I therefore decided to go without such a guide. I simply did my best, identifying those trees that I could classify.

The trees that I identified while stationed at Misawa AB came mainly from the base. There was a lot of trees and other vegatation very nearby. The base had a lot of tree cover (Well, it did when I got there). Unfortunately, most of that tree cover is disappearing rapidly as development on the base is eliminating all the wild spaces on the base. Although the majority of my tree idenifying was concentrated on base; I occasionaly ventured off base to some of the more spectacular parks, such as Oirase Gorge, to do some hiking and identifying.

     Well That's it. As you can tell from this list, I was hamperred by the lack of an appropriate guide. Most of the oaks I encountered seemed similar to American oaks, yet dissimilar enough that I hesitate to classify them. Nearly all the oaks had very tough, leathery leaves, that hung on throughout the winter; only coming off with the buds of spring. This area of Northern Japan does not contain any of the Bamboo forests predominant in the Southern part of the country. Cherry trees do make up a large percentage of the ornamentals, and the area does have a good supply of hard woods. I wish I would have found a good book to help me identify the trees in the area. I think I would have had a much more enjoyable time.

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Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail: robert robsworld org
Last Updated: Sunday, June 10, 2001

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