Nature & Parks

State of Japan's Environment at a Glance: Natural Vegetation

The percentage of natural areas in Japan has been declining. For example, natural and secondary forests are declining while less natural woodlands, such as afforested areas, are increasing. In addition, the spread of urbanization has contributed to the overall decline in natural areas and greenery.

Changes in Naturalness of Vegetation over Time(Grid Count and Percentage)

DegreeClassificationThe 2nd and 3rd surveysThe 4th surveyIncrease or decrease
Grid countPercentage
(%)
Grid countPercentage (%)Grid countPercentage (%)
10Natural vegetation in grasslands and moorlands 4,038 1.1 4,011 1.1 -27 0.0
9Natural vegetation in forests 66,979 18.2 66,394 18.0 -585 -0.2
8Substitutional communities similar to natural vegetation in forests 20,046 5.4 19,733 5.4 -313 -0.1
7Substitutional communities in secondary forests 70,484 19.1 69,030 18.7 -1454 -0.4
6Planted forests 91,029 24.7 92,072 25.0 -1043 0.3
5Substitutional vegetation in high profile grasslands 5,737 1.6 5,626 1.5 -111 0.0
4Substitutional communities in low profile grasslands 5,939 1.6 6,498 1.8 559 0.2
3Fruit orchards, mulberry plantations, tea gardens, and other horticultural areas 6,798 1.8 6,817 1.8 19 0.0
2Paddies, fields, and other arable land, residential areas with abundant trees 76,945 20.9 77,311 21.0 366 0.1
1Urban land, developed tracts, and other zones where plant life is virtually nonexistent 14,841 40. 15,420 4.2 579 0.2
Naturally barren land 1,392 0.4 1,416 0.4 24 0.0
Open water areas 4,170 1.1 4,211 1.1 41 0.0
Unclassified land 72 0.0 71 0.0 1 0.0
Total 36,470 100.0 368,610 100.0 140 0.0

(1994: National Survey on the Natural Environment - Vegetation Survey)
The 2nd and 3rd surveys: 1979-86, the 4th survey: 1988-92

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