Nature and Living Things

Satoyama Preservation Activities

A satoyama area consists of a settlement and the associated rural land, secondary forests, planted forests, reservoirs, water channels and grasslands, and is a rural or mountain village area formed through the movements of people in their daily lives and in their work in the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries. A satoyama nurtures things such as the traditional religious festivals and events born out of gratitude for the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries, crafts that utilize local resources, and the beautiful landscapes, as well as providing a range of benefits such as the prevention of landslides and floods, a supply of forest and plant resources, and the provision of a place to learn about the environment.
Currently in Noto, preservation activities are being actively carried out to enable a continuation of these satoyama benefits to the next generation, and activities run by NPOs and local residents are common. Local interest in satoyama areas is growing, and there are more communities where local residents are becoming aware of the value of satoyama and are conducting preservation activities on a regular basis.


Biotope activities and surveys on living organisms

Biotope is a word derived from the Greek words ‘bio’ (life) and ‘topos’ (place), and means ‘an environment where living organisms live and grow’. There are various environmental types of biotope, such as water biotopes, forest biotopes and rice paddy biotopes, but the most common use for the word ‘biotope’ is for the environment and space artificially made by humans for the restoration of lost wild ecosystems.


Noto’s Satoyama and Satoumi are formed through the variety of connections between the forest, reservoirs, rice paddies and streams; and within this ecosystem network that relies on these environmental connections, a diverse range of living things live and grow, including rare and endangered species. However in recent years, due to multiple reasons such as global warming, an increase in derelict farmland, concreting of water channels, a lack of care for satoyama areas and an increase in foreign species, the deterioration, division and loss of ecosystem networks is occurring, and the native habitats of living things are greatly changing. Currently, all over Noto, citizens and government are working together to create biotopes for the maintenance of rice paddies with consideration for ecosystem networks and local satoyama preservation activities.


Furthermore, it is difficult to know the value of the creatures living in local areas, so a great deal of energy is necessary to identify the status of the life and growth of a diverse range of living creatures. All over Noto, living creature surveys are being carried out by local residents, and along with raising interest and awareness of biodiversity, they are helping to gauge the current status of ecosystems as well as contribute to environmental education.



Protection activities for rare and endangered species

Noto Peninsula is blessed with a diverse marine ecosystem due to a coastline environment rich in diversity, such as the offshore confluence of warm and cold currents, the length of the coastline, the rocky shores and sandy coasts of Sotoura, the enclosed Nanao Bay, and the ria areas of Uchiura. In addition, the mountainous areas have a mixture of natural forests and planted forests, and land use from the mountains to the coastal areas are a mosaic of reservoirs and rice paddies, rivers and wetlands, meaning that a rich biodiversity is being maintained in inland water ecosystems and agricultural and forest ecosystems. As a result, Noto Peninsula welcomes a large number of migratory birds every year, and it is estimated that there are almost 300 species. However in recent years, it is said that biodiversity is under threat, due to human activities and development (the first threat), the scaling down and withdrawal of human activities influencing nature (the second threat), ecosystem disturbance due to introduced or foreign species (the third threat), and due to the effect of global warming.


An example of foreign species that are creating problems in Noto are black bass, the American red swamp crayfish and the bullfrog. There are districts that are succeeding in eliminating black bass by draining reservoirs, but at the same time there are many reservoirs that are not managed and have been neglected. The invasion of foreign species has a big effect on the Peninsula and closed reservoirs etc, and thus elimination activities at reservoirs in Noto, which are home to a number of living creatures including rare species, are very important. Furthermore, with regards to boars in Ishikawa Prefecture, their extinction was confirmed between the end of the Meiji period and the start of the Taisho period (around 1912), but in recent years with warmer winters, there is concern that the boars have been moving North.


Initiatives to involve local residents in protection activities for rare and endangered species in Noto have started. As part of the Hakui Coast Nature Regeneration Project, explanations of the prohibition of controlled burning on the coast are given via community meetings in order to protect the tiger beetle which is designated as an ‘Ishikawa Prefecture rare wild animal or plant’. In addition, as local awareness for rare species grows, it is expected that local residents can act as monitors.