2. Let's work on biodiversity

Let's work on biodiversity

  • Graduate School of Environmental Studies
  • (Conservation Ecology Group)

Yosihiro Natuhara [Professor]


Outline of Seeds

Our lives are supported by ecological services (gifts from nature). Whether its the food we eat every day, the resources we use as fuel, or the forests that absorb carbon dioxideeveryone from individual consumers to corporations benefits from Mother Nature. And it is biodiversity that allows nature to continue providing these ecological services to us. It is the amazing variety of living things on our planet that makes up our global ecosystem (see figure 1). At the same time, however, human activity is resulting in a loss of that biodiversity, which in turn is compromising both the quality and quantity of the ecological services that nature provides. We need local governments, corporations, and others to include biodiversity conservation as part of their activities and projects (see figure 2).
Some of the highlights of our research so far include:
* Using GIS to evaluate ecological networks
* Developing satoyama (socio-ecological production landscapes) evaluation systems based on landscape ecology techniques
* Explaining the impact of agricultural practices on biodiversity
* Explaining genetic diversity and diversity conservation mechanisms in amphibians
We are now working to design an ecological recovery system based on our findings from these research activities (see figure 3). We hope to define the impact that local government and corporate projects have on biodiversity as well as offer ways to effectively address biodiversity and conservation of the natural environment.

Novelty and originality of this research

We have detailed the changes in satoyama areas and their effects on biodiversity in Japan, and have looked at identifying satoyama areas most in need of conservation and restoration as well as ways to manage them. We have unique interdisciplinary research methods and are using them to address multiple topics. For example, in an effort to produce decision-making information to support the recovery of biodiversity (including the crested ibis) in rice paddy areas, we have evaluated the natural recovery potential of these areas from a landscape perspective and used the results of those evaluations to introduce tests for biodiversity recovery through the restoration of ecological links. We are also looking at social systems for applying recovery techniques and their economic potential and more.

Application and research area for Industry collaboration

As part of a study commissioned by the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, we participated in the development of techniques that use biodiversity to achieve consistent agricultural production. We have also served as a consultant to companies planting trees are part of their CSR activities and to Aichi Prefecture to support qualitative improvements in its office greening initiatives.

Key Takeaway

We are conducting initiatives not only through the university, but also with NPOs, private companies, governments, JICA, and a variety of others. We also have extensive experience conducting surveys in Africa and other overseas locations.


Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Sustainabirity, Restoration ecology


  • Geographic Information System
  • DNA barcording
  • Stable isotope ratio analysis
  • Workshop on environment

Monographs, Papers and Articles

  • Sawabe K, Natuhara Y (2016) Extensive distribution models of the harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) in different landscapes. Global Ecology and Conservation 8: 108-115
  • Ramamonjisoa N, Natuhara Y (2016) Hierarchical competitive ability and phenotypic investments in prey: inferior competitors compete and defend. Journal of Zoology DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12406
  • Natuhara Y (2013) Ecosystem services by paddy fields as substitutes of natural wetlands in Japan. Ecological Engineering 56: 97-106