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      Biosphere Reserve Information
     

Japan

YAKUSHIMA ISLAND


Photo: Yakushima Island BR
 
       
  General Description   The Yakushima Island Biosphere Reserve is located at the Kagoshima Prefecture at Kyushu in the southern part of Japan. The area (about 38 % of the island) is protected as a National Park (1964) and a Wilderness Area (1975). Mt. Miyanoura (1,936 meters above sea level), the highest mountain in Kyushu, stands at the center of the island. It comprises sub-tropical and temperate rainforests, evergreen coniferous forest with yaku cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) some of which are 1000 years old, and evergreen dwarf bamboo grassland around the mountain peaks. The Yakushima islanders have climbed the mountains since ancient times to take part in a traditional ritual for bountiful agricultural and fish harvests and for safety in the home. Approximately 14,000 people live in the island, engaged in tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other industries. The Biosphere Reserve receives about 200,000 visitors for recreation activities. Many Japanese scientists participate in research within the Biosphere Reserve. The results give a better understanding of the natural environment. The Ministry of the Environment, the Forestry Agency, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kamiyaku-town and Yaku-town manage the area through the Yakushima World Heritage Area Liaison Committee, based on the Yakushima World Heritage Area Management Plan.
  Major ecosystem type   Sub-tropical and temperate rainforests
  Major habitats & land cover types   Island; coastal lowland forests with Ficus microcarpa, Trema orientalis, Ardisia quinquegona etc.; thick and deep evergreen oak-laurel forest in the lowland; evergreen coniferous forest with yaku cedars (Cryptomeria japonica), Abies firma, Tsuga sieboldii etc.; evergreen dwarf bamboo grassland around mountain peaks; agroecosystems; forestry systems
  Location   3020'N; 13030'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   18,958
  Core area(s)   7,559
  Buffer zone(s)   11,399
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +1,935
  Year designated   1980
  Administrative authorities   Ministry of the Environment, the Forest Agency and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO


Last updated: 12/10/2007

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