Biodiversity / Food / Water

April 21, 2005


The Japanese Archipelago - New Nature Conservation Hotspot

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity NGO / Citizen 

The Japanese archipelago has been designated as one of 34 hotspots inhabited by a large number of indigenous species whose habitats are threatened. Conservation International (CI), an international environmental NGO, disclosed the list of hotspots in February 2005, based on four years of research and collaboration with about 400 experts worldwide.

To qualify as a hotspot, a region must meet two criteria: it must contain at least 1,500 species of endemic plants, and it needs to have lost at least 70 percent of its primeval habitat. CI formerly identified 25 regions as hotspots, including the Tropical Andes and New Caledonia.

Japan, newly added to the hotspot list, has as many as 1,950 endemic plants as well as an abundance of internationally threatened species of fauna and flora. The organization called for stronger conservation measures, pointing to the ecological crises in the Yanbaru forests of Okinawa Island, habitat of the endangered Okinawa woodpecker, and the forests of Amami-Oshima Island, habitat of the endangered Amami rabbit.

In addition to Japan, other newly named hotspots included the Horn of Africa and the Himalaya Mountains. The ecosystems of many of these hotspots are in danger of deterioration due to habitat devastation, invasion of exotics, climate change and exploitation of endemic creatures for food, medicine and the pet trade.

Posted: 2005/04/21 11:09:41 PM
Japanese version