"Today we revisit Japan's Edo period in the mid-1600s, a time of turmoil that resulted in an amazingly complex environmental policy that still influences our ideas on conservation today.
"The Edo period began in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu seized power and established the Tokugawa shogunate, with headquarters in the city of Edo. During this time the Tokugawa shoguns, or generals, effectively controlled the country, becoming even more powerful than the Emperor in Kyoto.
"The period preceeding the beginning of the Edo period had been a time of growth both in terms of economics and population. By 1570, shortly before the Edo period began, Japan's population had reached 10 million. This spike in population and the corresponding need for natural resources led to a serious environmental problem for Japan. For the first time, the country was faced with widespread deforestation.
"Deforestation was not an entirely new phenomenon."
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