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Conservation (保全)

Mount Usu / Sarobetsu post-mined peatland
From left: Crater basin in 1986 and 2006. Cottongrass / Daylily

[ naturalness | endangered species | hotspot ]

Conservation (保全)

Human ecosystem (生態系) and the environment (環境) (Mader 1985)
lead to environmental problems.

Land use: urbanization, cropland and rangeland, etc. + Pollution

Human activities are causing the extinction of many different kinds of organisms (species).
Humans are beginning to learn how to work with nature for a better environment
⇒ conservation (保存・保護・涵養) = preservation (保存・保全・保護) and/or conservation and/or reclamation

Conservation biology (保全生物学)

The studies on the nature and status of biodiversity at varous scalses for conserving species, habitats, and ecosystems
Conceptual terms
Keystone species
Umbrella species
Foundation species: strong role in structuring a community (often dominant species in the community)

Conservation ecology (保全生態学)

Ecological approach
blend natural processes with reclamation decision (succession, competition, grazing etc.)
create landscapes managing natural elements
create complementary species assemblages - mosaic nature
maximize use of existing site qualities/species
expand conservative areas
Ex. Heath (s.l.): meaning that harsh, alpine vegetation dominated by Empetrum nigrum, etc. in the case of Japan

Decrease in Scotland forests and development of heath
Distribution: British Isls (widespread), NW Europe and SW Finland

Oceanic climatic condition → cool and humid summer and warm in winter

List of major plants in heath, most of which are less than 1.5 m in height
Erica cinerea, E. tethalix, Empetrum nigrum, Vaccinium vitis-idaea = Ericaceous shrubs


England: vascular plants = ca 1570 taxa (= a half of Japan, and close to Hokkaido)
Glacier: England → decrease by human activity
The New Stone Age: as compared with the Old Stone Age
Decrease in pollen = elm, ash (Fraxinus), maple
Increase in pollen = birch, oak, plantain, grass
→ deforestation
Scotland: failure in agriculture → livestock farming (sheep) = exploitation of forest → difficulties in revegetaion → development of heath

Landscape conservation (景観保全)
reclamation (回復・取戻): return to productive use
rehabilitation: improve derelict land
restoration: return to a complete, natural system
Landscape unit Terminology
reservation (保留・保存)
nature reserve (自然保護地)
conservation of natural resources (天然資源の保存・保護)

Forest conservation (森林保護学)

Naturalness (自然度)

Table. Major landscape types classified, according to the degree of naturalness (Westhoff 1971)
Flora and faunaDevelopment of vegetation and soilExamples
Natural landscapesSpontaneousNot influenced by manParts of the Wadden area (mud flats, coastal beaches, and salt marshes)
Subnatural landscapesCompletely or largely spontaneousTo some extent influenced by manParts of the dune landscape, most salt marshes, inland drift sands, deciduous woods with some cutting, final stages of succession in hydroseries in fens
Seminatural landscapesLargely spontaneousDrastically influenced by man (other formation than the potential natural vegetation)Heathlands, oligotrophic grasslands, sedge swamps, reed swamps, inner dune grasslands, coppice, osier beds, many woods in which the tree stratum is arranged by man
Agricultural landscapesPredominantly arranged by manStrongly influenced by man (soil often fertilized and drained; vegetation with ruderals, neophytes, and garden escapes)Arable fields, sown grasslands, parks, conifer forests
Table. Degree of naturalness in ecosystems. Hemerobiotic state, and some characteristics of vegetation and soil. (van der Maarel 1975)
NaturalnessHemerobiotic stateChanges substrateChanges vegetation structureChanges floristic compositionLoss natives (%)Gain neophytes (%)
Near naturalOligo-FewNoMost species spontaneous< 1%5%
Semi-(agri)-naturalMeso-Small, superficialOther life form dominatingMost species spontaneous1-5%5-12%
AgriculturalEu-Moderate to drasticCrops dominatingFew species spontaneous6%13-20%
Near-culturalPoly-Drastic artificial substrateOpen ephemeralFew to no species?21-80%
CulturalMeta-hemerobioticDrastic artificial substrate----

Endangered species (絶滅危惧種)

(s.l.) A population of species which is at risk of becoming extinct, because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing ecosystems
(s.s.) taxa in danger of extinction and whose survival is unlikely if the causal factors continue operating. Included are taxa whose numbers have been reduced to a critical level or whose habitats have been so drastically reduced that they are deemed to be in immediate danger of extinction. Also included are taxa that are possibly already extinct but have definitely been seen in the wild in the past 50 years

Red Data Book (RDB)

Red Data Book, RDB: source books that record endangered plants and animals, not only published by IUCN
Red Data species, RDS: endangered species assigned by International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN (2008)


  • Extinct (EX) No individuals remaining
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW) Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range
  • Critically Endangered (CR) Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
  • Endangered (EN) High risk of extinction in the wild
  • Vulnerable (VU) High risk of endangerment in the wild
  • Near Threatened (NT) Likely to become endangered in the near future
  • Least Concern (LC) Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category
  • Data Deficient (DD) Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction
  • Not Evaluated (NE) Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria

Hokkaido (北海道)

Mammals (哺乳類)
Most of them are endangred in Hokkaido
Vascular plants (維管束植物)
*: distributed in Sarobetsu mire (サロベツ湿原) → wetland (湿原)
Aconitum ito-seiyanum (セイヤブシ), R (Hokkaido)
Betula apoiensis (アポイカンバ), CR
Betula davurica (ヤエガワカンバ), NT
Carex bigelowii (オハグロスゲ), DD
Carex nemurensis (ホソバオゼヌマスゲ), VU
Carex rhynchophysa (オオカサスゲ), CR
Cirsium apoense (アポイアザミ), CR
Crepis gymnopus (エゾタカネニガナ), VU
Drosera anglica (ナガバノモウセンゴケ)*, VU
Erigeron thunbergii var. angustifolius (アポイアズマギク), CR
Hypochaeris crepidioides (エゾコウゾリナ), EN
Iris laevigata (カキツバタ)*, VU
Lonicera chamissoi (チシマヒョウタンボク), VU
Pogonia japonica (トキソウ)*, NT
Rumex longifolius (ノダイオウ), VU
Salix arbutifolia (ケショウヤナギ), VU
and more

Wildlife management (野生生物管理学)

Metagenomics (メタゲノミクス)

≈ environmental genomics, ecogenomics and community genomics
The study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples
Metagenome (メタゲノム)
Operational taxonomic unit, OTU
1. Rarefaction

E(S) = Σi=1S(1 - N-NiCn/NCn)

E(S) = number of expected species at n
N = total number of individuals
Ni = number of individuals in the ith species
n = size of smaller sample (rarefied)

2. Exploratory analysis
3. Hypothesis examined by statistics
Infectious disease diagnosis
(Gut) microbe characterization
Environmental remediation

Tax4Fun (Aßhauer et al. 2015) and other methods: by using 16S rRNA metagenomic data, the characterization of phylogenetic and functional diversity - R package

Amplicon sequence variant, ASV
≈ exact sequence variants or zero-radius OTUs (zOTUs)

Biodiversity (生物多様性)

biodiversity = biological diversity, proposed by Wilson & Peter (1988)
The totality or total complexity of genes, species, and/or ecosystems in a various scales from habitat to the world.
Table. Biodiversity should be considered with three levels.
  • level: measurable parameter
  • ecosystem: number of functional types
  • species: number of species (species richness), diversity index (多様性指数)
  • gene: the total amount of genetic variation in a population or species
reflected in the number of different species, the different combination of species, and the different combinations of genes within each species.

Biodiversity hotspots (生物多様性ホットスポット)

Map of hotspts
Featuring exceptional concentrations of endemic species and experiencing exceptional loss of habitat (Myers et al. 2000)
Based on the number of endemic species > 1,500 species
2000 (established): Bonin Islands only
25 hotspots (Area = 1.4%) → 44% vascular plants / 35% vertebrates
2005 (revised): the whole of Japan
34 hotspots (Area = 2.3%) → 50% vascular plants / 42% vertebrates
The twenty-five biodiversity hotspots (green, coded as 1-25) prorposed by Myers et al. (2000) and added nine hotspots (blue, 26-34) (Mittermeier et al. 2005)
  1. The Tropical Andes
  2. Mesoamerica
  3. The Caribbean Islands
  4. The Atlantic Forest
  5. Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena
  6. The Cerrado
  7. Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forests
  8. The California Floristic Province
  9. Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands
  10. The Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa
  11. The Guinean Forests of West Africa
  12. The Cape Floristic Region
  13. The Succulent Karoo
  1. The Mediterranean Basin
  2. The Caucasus
  3. Sundaland
  4. Wallacea
  5. The Philippines
  6. Indo-Burma
  7. The Mountains of Southwest China
  8. Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
  9. Southwest Australia
  10. New Caledonia
  11. New Zealand
  12. Polynesia and Micronesia
  1. The Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands
  2. Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany
  3. The Eastern Afromontane
  4. The Horn of Africa
  5. The Irano-Anatolian
  6. The Mountains of Central Asia
  7. Eastern Himalaya
  8. Japan
  9. East Melanesian Islands