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      Biosphere Reserve Information
     

Japan

SHIGA HIGHLAND


© Photo: Shiga Highland BR
 
       
  General Description   The Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve is located in central Honchu, 20 km north-east of Nagano. It is part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park (1949). The site’s most representative area is the north highland between 1,300 and 2,300 metres above sea level, surrounded by volcanoes of some 2,000 metres in altitude. The volcanic lake of Mt. Shirane is reputed to be the most acid lake in the world with a pH of 0.8. A typical vertical zonation is observed with temperate and sub-polar broadleaf forests or woodlands. The corresponding plant communities from barren rocky peaks above the tree level, descending through an alpine zone to deciduous woodland at low altitudes. Many ponds, swamps, and high-moors are found in the Shiga-yama area. The diverse fauna includes the macaque (Macaca fuscata) and serow (Capricornis crispus), 64 recorded species of breeding birds and also the amphibian (Hynobius nigrescens) at its most southerly distribution. Four Shinto shrines form a small circuit for pilgrims. At the turn of the century, the local communities have been becoming increasingly dependent for their livelihood upon the tourist industry. 15,000 (1999) people could be accommodated in 96 lodges. The National Park is widely used for recreation and receives more than 2 million visitors per year (1999). The park is quickly becoming a vast leisure centre and includes multiple facilities to cater such as helicopter rides to skiing, rock climbing, tennis and hot spring spas. Timber production is permitted in the buffer zone, while tourism is controlled to some extent by the introduction of a toll road system on the more popular routes within the park.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate and sub-polar broadleaf forests or woodlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Lower deciduous broad-leaf forest characterized by Japanese beech (Fagus crenata); upper evergreen coniferous forests with hemlock (Tsuga diversifolia) and Abies mariesii; partly deforested upper forests dominated by birch (Betula ermani); partly deforested lower forests dominated by oak (Quercus crispula) and Betula platyphylla etc.; ponds and swamps; high moors with Andromeda polifolia, Inula ciliaris and Salix reinii; grasslands of Sasa albomarginata with Sorbus commixta
  Location   Latitude36°43'N, Longitude138°30'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   13,000
  Core area(s)   1,000
  Buffer zone(s)   12,000
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   800~2.305m
  Year designated   1980
  Administrative authorities   The Environment Agency, the Forest Agency and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO


Last updated: 12/10/2007

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