Minami-Alps (Japan)

Extending over an area of 302,474 hectares, this biosphere reserve consists of a mountainous region flanked on two sides by the south-flowing Fuji and Tenryu rivers. It includes the Koma, Akaishi and Ina mountains. The flora of the Minami Alps is characterised by plant species that migrated south along the Japanese archipelago in the Ice Age, when it was still joined by land to the continent. Plant species recorded at over 800 metres above sea level in the site include 248 varieties of moss and 98 species of lichen. The areas around the foothills of the Minami Alps have long remained isolated from one another, but one of the aims of the biosphere reserve is to strengthen interactions between these regions and to foster sustainable development.