Nature & Parks

[Framework of Management] Yakushima World Heritage Area Management Plan

[Cultural and Historical Heritage] Yakushima World Heritage Area Management Plan

3. Framework of Management

(1) Basic Framework

For the purpose of maintaining the value of the area as a World Heritage Site, the entire Heritage Area will be under unified management that will consider the aims of individual conservation systems.

(2) Outline of the Designation Systems for Conservation

The Heritage Area is strictly protected under the regulations of Wilderness Areas, Special Zones and Special Protection Zones of the National Parks, Forest Ecosystem Reserves, and Special Natural Monuments.
The outline for these measures are explained below.

  1. Wilderness Area

    Wilderness Areas" are defined as areas that fulfill the following conditions: are as that have not been affected by the activities of man; areas where primitive conditions have been preserved; areas of a considerable size; and a need exists for the natural environment to be conserved. When a particular area fulfills these criteria, the Minister of the Environment may designated and managed the area as a Wilderness Area under the Nature Conservation Law.
    The Hanayama district in the Yakushima mountainous area was designated as the Yakushima Wilderness Area in May 1975 under the Nature Conservation Law. The Yakushima Wilderness Area is contained in the Heritage Area.
    With the exception of certain special circumstances, such as academic research, activities that may have a negative impact on the natural environment are prohibited in this area and include activities such as buildingconstruction, cutting trees or bamboo, collecting of animals and plants, collecting fallen leaves and branches, and building fires.

  2. National Park

    National Parks aim to protect the scenic beauty of an area; to promote the use of the area; and to simultaneously contribute to human health, recreation, and enlightenment. National Parks are designated and maintained by the Minister of the Environment in accordance with the Natural Parks Law.

    The entire Heritage Area excluding the Wilderness Area has been designated as the Kirishima-yaku National Park"in accordance with the Natural Parks Law. There are two distinct areas: the Special Zone and the Special Protection Zone. The Special Zone is important to both conservation and usage, and the Minister of the Environment must approve activities such as building construction or cutting trees. The Special Protection Zone aims for the strict conservation of the core-area of the park. In the Special Protection Zone, the Minister of the Environment must also approve activities such as collection or harvesting of animals or plants, collection of fallen leaves and branches, and building fires in addition to building construction and cutting trees and bamboo. These delineations are set according to the Protection Plan established for the National Park. Furthermore, walking paths, shelters, and other facilities are being constructed to simultaneously conserve nature and to promote its appropriate use according to the National Park Usage Plan.

  3. Forest Ecosystem Reserve

    Forest Ecosystem Reserves are areas established and managed by the Forestry Agency based on National Forest Management Rules. Through the conservation of old growth forests, the Reserves aim to maintain a natural forest ecosystem, to protect plants and animals, to preserve the gene pool, to advance technology of forest management, and to contribute to academic research. Based on the National Forest Management Rules, the center of Yakushima Island was designated as the Yakushima Forest Ecosystem Reserve in March of 1992. Preservation Areas are the most primeval sections of the forests in the reserve and require strict management of the forest ecosystem. Excluding academic research and emergency measures taken during times of natural disaster, changes in the ecosystem occur without human disturbance and are primarily due to natural processes. The Conservation and Utilization Zone serves as a buffer to prevent environmental change outside the reserve from directly affecting the forests in the Preservation Area. Forestry operations for the purpose of timber production are prohibited in this Zone. However, educational or recreational uses may be permitted if they are in harmony with natural conditions and they are not accompanied by large-scale development. The national forest almost entirely overlaps the Forest Reserve in the Heritage Area Ecosystem Reserve.

  4. Natural Monuments

    Under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, the Minister of Education can designate "Natural Monuments." Natural Monuments are of high academic interest in Japan and they may include geological minerals (including areas of extraordinary natural phenomena) or certain plants and animals (including their habitat, breeding grounds, and migration grounds). "Special Natural Monuments" are designated natural monuments with particular importance.The Yakusugi Old Growth Forest in the Heritage Area has been designated as a Special Natural Monument. Four species inhabiting the Area have been designated as Natural Monuments: Erithacus komadori, Columba janthina, Turdus celaenops, and Iijima warbler Phylloscopus iijimae. The Commissioner for Cultural Affairs must approve of any acts that may change status quo of these natural monuments and of any acts that may impact the preservation of these species.

(3) Management Structure

The Heritage Area will be managed through the close collaboration among the administrative bodies of the aforementioned system: the Ministry of the Environment, the Forestry Agency, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and Kagoshima Prefecture. The Yakushima World Heritage Area Liaison Committee ("Liaison Committee") will be established as a forum for administrative bodies to promote more effective cooperation and collaboration for the management of the Heritage Area. The Liaison Committee will promote mutual cooperation and collaboration and manage the Heritage Area in a unified, appropriate, and efficient manner. Because the effective management of the Heritage Area is essential to enhance the understanding and cooperation of the local community, the Liaison Committee will seek to promote cooperation with concerned organizations.


Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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