Nature & Parks

[Management Measures] Yakushima World Heritage Area Management Plan

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

4. Management Measures

(1) Basic Policy

Management is based on the policy to strictly protect the Heritage Area to preserve its value as a World Heritage Site.
From the perspective of implementing unified, efficient, and effective management of the Heritage Area, the concerned administrative bodies will promote effective collaboration and encourage coordination through the Liaison Committee. Specifically, measures will be implemented according to the following policies.

  1. Activities such as construction of buildings, the collection of soil, stones and rocks, and other activities that may have a negative effect on the conservation of the natural environment will be strictly regulated according to laws and other mechanisms. Even in cases of reconstructing or expanding buildings, extreme care must be taken to minimize the impact on the natural environment.
  2. Because of the widespread publicity of the Heritage Area because of its addition to the World Heritage List, interest in the area has increased and the number of visitors to areas such as Jomon Cedars has also increased. Measures will be implemented to prevent the possible negative impact caused by these visitors.
  3. Methods based on mountaineering will be implemented to stimulate appropriate use, e.g., experiencing pristine nature, nature watching, and education.

(2) Protection of Animals, Plants and Natural Scenery

The protection of plants and animals in the Heritage Area will be implemented through necessary measures based on the existing conservation systems. The following measures will be enforced to achieve this goal.

  1. The collection of plants and capture of animals will be strictly restricted except for academic research or other special reasons.
  2. Strict restrictions will be enforced for the cutting of trees or bamboo, building construction, and altering landscape to minimize impact on the habitat and breeding grounds of animals and plants in the Heritage Area.
  3. Even in cases of reconstructing or expanding buildings, extreme care must be taken to minimize the impact on the natural environment. When road improvements plans are formulated for existing prefectural roadways to improve the life of residents and/or to improve traffic safety, an environmental impact study will be conducted beforehand even if the scale of the improvement work is minimal to preserve the value as a natural heritage site. The plan will be implemented with extreme care based on the results of environmental impact studies.
  4. Studies to be assisted by various research organizations will be promoted to research and monitor the animals and plants that inhabit the Heritage Area.
    These studies will be conducted to gain a better understanding of animal habitats and breeding habits. Preventative measures wil1 be implemented for species that need to have their habitat and breeding grounds protected. If necessary, a protective breeding program will be implemented.
  5. If hikers or climbers impact forest and marsh vegetation by walking on them or if erosion becomes a major concern, proper measures will be enforced to prevent hiker entry into the areas beyond established footpaths to alleviate the negative effects. Furthermore, other measures will be undertaken to prevent erosion in these areas, if necessary. Other measures, e.g., to replant and restore the affected areas, will also be undertaken.

(3) Appropriate Enjoyment of Nature

A gradual increase is projected for the number of visitors to the Heritage Area because of the increased interest in the World Heritage Area, development of transportation networks, and other factors. There is concern that a possible increase in seasonal traffic or in use of popular routes may impact the Heritage Area negatively.

Proper measures will be implemented to preserve the value of this heritage area for future generations. With the exception of pre-existing vehicular roadways, only on-foot access in the Heritage Areas will be allowed to promote awareness of pristine nature through observation and education. Furthermore, appropriate use of the Heritage Area will be promoted through the implementation of policies to disseminate information and promote educational activities on nature and culture in and around the Heritage Area.

The following measures will be implemented to achieve these goals.

  1. Visitors will be encouraged to go to areas outside the Heritage Area to avoid the problems caused by over-concentrated use in any one area and to mitigate the effects of the human impact.
  2. With due consideration given to the natural environment and usage patterns, appropriate facilities will be constructed under the National Park Usage Plan and will include footpaths, shelters, and toilets.
  3. Human resources will be fostered toward providing outdoor nature education and promoting environmental education activities, such as nature-watching and forest recreation with instructor-guided activities.
  4. Information will be provided and disseminated from such facilities as the Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center and the Yakushima Forest Environment Conservation Center. Furthermore, active, productive relationships will be sought with the centers mentioned above, the Yakushima Environmental and Cultural Village Center, the Yakusugi Museum, and other related facilities.
  5. Informational posters, leaflets, and other materials on the natural environment of the Heritage Area will be created and distributed to visitors to promote the appropriate use of the Heritage Area. The construction of guideposts, explanatory signs, and other informational aids will also raise and establish a sense of conservation.
  6. The cooperation and assistance of local governments and other organizations that promote and conduct nature education and eco-tourism on Yakushima Island will be sought to encourage the appropriate use of the Heritage Area and to work toward dispersing visitors to areas outside the Heritage Area.
  7. Policies will be promoted to create places and opportunities for visitors to learn and for the undertaking of broad educational and promotional activities because of the importance of gaining background knowledge on the nature, history, industry, etc. of Yakushima in order to acquire a better understanding of the conservation efforts in the Heritage Area.

(4) The Implementation of Management Programs

The measures described below will be promoted to preserve the value of the Heritage Area and to protect the Heritage Area in the future.

  1. The Ministry of the Environment and the Forestry Agency will coordinate to establish patrols conducted by their local staff. Furthermore, a more complete management mechanism will be promoted along with patrols by Natural Parks Leaders commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and Conservation Forests Patrols commissioned by the Forestry Agency.
  2. A communication network will be established so that District Forestry Officials who are also qualified as judicial police officers can be quickly contacted to swiftly and effectively deal with illegal activities.
  3. Ties with organizations and groups will be strengthened to instruct visitors, raise awareness conservation efforts, and beautify the landscape.
  4. The installation of ropes and fences to keep visitors on the path, vegetation rehabilitation, and other measures will be implemented to restore vegetation that has either been weakened or denuded in an area.
  5. Strict patrol measures will be observed to gain an understanding of current facilities usage, to plan maintenance and management of the infrastructure, and to continue promoting the erecting of signs.
  6. The implementation of maintenance and management activities for the beautification and cleanup of facilities will continue.

(5) Research and Monitoring

There are many valuable animals and plants that inhabit and breed in the Heritage Area, making it an important location for biological and ecological research. Because vegetation is distributed vertically from subtropical to subalpine zones, the Heritage Area is important not only for regional environmental research but also for global research to understand the effects of change on the global ecosystem.

Much valuable data related to the ecosystem of the Heritage Area has been gathered from results of past research and monitoring activities. However, there is much about its natural environment has been left unexplained.

  1. i. With the cooperation of the many interested research organizations, research and monitoring will be implemented to gather basic data on wild animals, plants, water resources, and the environment. A base facility to support these research and monitoring activities will also be established.
  2. There is a concern that even a small sample of a rare specie for research purposes may have a significant impact on their remaining numbers. Therefore, extreme caution will be exercised in handling these species.
  3. The study tracking the shift of the forest structure in the research areas within the Wilderness Area's vertical distribution zones will continue. Furthermore, the study will coordinate with ecological research conducted on Yakusugi by university research facilities within the Forest Ecosystem Conservation area.
  4. Communication will be further facilitated between related organizations and the researchers at the Yakushima World Heritage Conservation Center and the Yakushima Forest Environment Conservation Center. The centers may also function as base facilities for researchers, and researchers can also use the centers to conduct both academic studies and long-term monitoring activities to gain a better understanding of the current natural environment. Furthermore, these centers will produce reports on research results, collect and collate documents, and disseminate information. In addition, they will provide basic data, facilitate the networking of researchers, and increase the efficiency of research and monitoring.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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