February 19, 2021

UNESCO's MAB 50th anniversary site introduces a video by Japanese Biosphere Reserve Network.

UNESCO's MAB 50th anniversary site (or the permanent site) introduces a video by Japanese Biosphere Reserve Network. 

I give comments twice in this video.

35s- "Natural world heritage sites are focused on conservation that they restrict human activities. I don’t think that’s a good idea. But Biosphere Reserves have strived to realize harmony between humans and nature for 50 years, all over the world. I think this idea is more progressive than establishing natural heritage sites.

15m3s- "I think that the distancing between nature and people will change in the generation of children. To tell the truth, there are both benefits and risks to contact between people and nature. We have to understand this as we familiarize ourselves with nature, and that’s what it really means to lives in harmony with nature. It’s not just a matter of protecting nature or wildlife. It’s actually about making use of nature, accepting the risks and continuing to use it sustainably. That’s what I expect UNESCO's MAB Programme will achieve.

July 18, 2020

UNEP's report on zoonotic disease

PREVENTING THE NEXT PANDEMIC:Zoonotic diseases and how to break
the chain of transmission UNEP report full text
see also (related shorter documents and more)
According to the UNEP full report:
 "Ecological tourism and human settlements near caves and forested
areas, particularly those with poor housing conditions, can increase
human-wildlife contacts and human exposure to insects, ticks and other vectors of wildlife pathogens. "

I think ecotourism may need some guideline to decrease (not completely prevent) such risk of tourists and guides (In japan, mite's SFTS and bear attack are concerned).

November 17, 2019

Is japanese chub mackerel still overfished?

Is japanese chub mackerel still overfished? A problem on the current stock assessment in Japanese fisheries

I think that the generic model used to calculate the MSY and ABC of each fish species stock is somewhat unrealistic. At least in the case of chub mackerel on Pacific waters, the result looks very odd and it will drastically different if decadal change of oceanic environment (regime shift) is incorporated, or if we exclude the data before 1990 when the recruitment was very weak. we must obtain that there seems to be no problem with the current catch.
Since the MSY concept has changed to take into account process errors and regime shifts, the criticism to classic MSY theory based on stationary environmental condition without decadal change or yearly change in the oceanic condition, is not appropriate (criticism to the straw man), but process errors are taken into account, but interspecific relationships and regime shifts are not incorporated into generic methods in the current stock assessment in Japanese fisheries.
This is the reason why the Kobe plot of the chub mackerel in Pacific waters (right figure on P2) still looks very odd. From around 2008, it is understood that the stock increased steadily despite being it is consistently been overfishing. The historically largest stock in 1970s was also less than the MSY stock level.

The assessors may consider that, in the case of the chub mackerel stock, since around 2008, RPS has been consistently abnormally high (the resources that should be reduced on average) have continued to increase, and decreased for the first time in 2017. They did not use the concept of regime shift.
After all, I doubt the stock assessment by Japanese Fisheries Research Agency that the chub mackerel was still been overfishing.

Calculation without looking at the faces of fishermen is not "resource management that is rooted only in science". Regarding the assessment of resources and the new ABC (Allowable Biological Catch) rules, the Fisheries Agency respects the independence of research institutions (Fisheries Research Agency =FRA). Since it is an administrative matter regarding the TAC for each fish species and the development of measures for stock assessment, On the other hand, the resource assessment will be led by the FRA, and the Fisheries Agency will not be involved. Recently FRA stock assessors whose office was close to fisheries markets moved to central building (Yokohama). They will have much fewer chances to hear or see the fishing markets and voices of fishers.
However, even if the resource evaluation is calculated by getting data from the site, it may or may not match the site feeling. I think that resource evaluation will be often odd from the result of this arrangement.

June 28, 2019

Comments on Bear and Deer Management in Shiretoko World Heritage site

Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2019 21:08:44 +0900

Dear WG members
I heard that the vegetation on the Rausu side showed a certain recovery. I am much impressed because I recommended the necessity the population control experiment of deer in the heritage site in 2005. At that time, the choice of no-control was supported by the majority of the scientists. The choice should defenitely be determined by the society, but the fate should have been quite different.
It would be impossible to make major changes to the draft plan only with a 3-hour conference. In the old days, discussions were advanced deeply by emails in before and after the meetings. It may be better to decide on the policy for the next fiscal year at the second meeting in autumn, but if we look at the results of last year's survey and plan for the next fiscal year, measures will be delayed by one year. The document was released 5 days before, we could discuss it before the meeting.
As for the brown bear, it is obvious that the quantitative goals have not been achieved, and have even deteriorated, despite of the fact that we paid many efforts for monitoring and countermeasures. It is the "results" that appear in the newspaper that the Ministry of the Environment accepted the research project to evaluate population size of bears, but no improvement about human-bear confict has to be done. Even if we control human behavior, the number of bears will continue to increase and bears will not be afraid of people (even in Sapporo, even in similar situations it is ineffective). The reason I did zoning was to provide the means to effectively control the behavior of people in bear-first places (core area of national parks and others), and to remove the bears without hesitation in human-first places (towns, farms, etc.), so as to aim for the coexistence of both people and bears. Neither of them has worked, and the bear-first place extends beyond the heritage area. (This is choosed by the local community, but I think that the confict has increased and will increase more.)
About two years ago, the Shiretoko Foundation had been forced to chace out or cull bears beyond their working limit. If they chace bears that appears first time, and do not chase them until they decide to cull them. Chasing is not effective to regulate bears behaviors. I did not know any difference in zones in such responses. I did not hear the word "adaptive management" but originally I said the countermeasures to bears depend on the total number of bears and the number of bad bears that do not escape from people. Therefore, unlike deer, we need to monitor both the total number of bears and the number of "bad bears", and that number has been monitored in Donan (South Hokkaido). I think we can monitor the number of "bad bears" in Shireto, but it has not been written in the management plan.

From 2005 to the present, the number of deer has been greatly reduced. We must publish an article on this success of population control. You can see that the goal of the vegetation recovery (especially the renewal of saplings) has not been achieved yet, but I think that the current measures are less effective. I also think that there is a way to quit shooting and hunting for about 2 years (or 1 year).
It is unfortunate to say that relying on game hunting is currently at risk of accidental fire to kill a forest ranger. It would be much safer to aim at a system in which people from the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry Agency perform gun hunting by themselves. In that sense, I deeply appreciate the Shiretoko Foundation. I even think that the development of the Shiretoko Foundation holds the fortune of natural park management throughout Japan.

June 14, 2019

Japan's Ministry of Environment prioritizes a national park landscape over a wind farm

The opinion of the Minister of the Environment on the Ukushima Wind Power Project in 2015 was very disappointing.

I do not know if the landscape of the wind farm is really a problem in the designation of the world's cultural heritage. I agree to investigate the impact.

In any case, the minister's recommendation to only abolish the turbines to avoid impact on the national park landscape, at least at this location, the Minister of the Environment prioritizes the national park landscape over carbon free energy means. In contrast, layout changes or discontinuations were requested to avoid noise, shadows of nearby wind turbines, and effects on flora and fauna.

The issue of climate change is said to be one of the most important issues in the global environment. In Germany, the scene where a windmill stands on the whole surface of a national park seems to be common recently.

March 21, 2019

S-14 Symposium "New Frontiers in Climate Change Impact Assessment Research and its Counter Measures"

 (Official site in Japanese Please visit it for participation)
May 8, 2019: 3 pm-5 pm, at Kyoto City International Foundation
15:00 Introduction (Taikan Oki)
15:05 Hans-Otto Poertner
15:35 Yukiko Hirabayashi:  How much do we need to adapt climate change?
15:45 Hiroyuki Matsuda: Are climate change measures compatible with nature protection?
15:55 Manabu Kanda: How do we adapt ourselves to climate change and urban warming ?
16:05 Yasuaki Hijioka: How much do we need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions?
16:15 Taikan Oki: How to balance mitigation and adaptation to climate change?
16:25 Panel Discussion (moderator: Hiroyuki Matsuda)
17:00 Closing remarks

July 18, 2018

How many species have gone extinct ? 941 species are listed in IUCN Redlist!

A. It depends on the definition of species. If you count only described (known) species, 941 species among evaluated 43700 taxa are listed as extinct or extinct in the wild in IUCN Redlist database. (see PNG for a method to get this number from IUCN's Red List website ). Note that extinct species recorded in 2002 does not mean the species went extinct in 2002 but is decided as extinct in 2002. In addition, there are many undescribed species (see Monitoring and biodiversity indices). Therefore the number of extinct species may be bigger if we include undescribed species. It is noted that the number of extinct species /day is >1, probably ca.10 or more (e.g. WWF website). However, if the extinction rate is not significantly different between described and undescribed species, this is definitely far overestimation.