○Research Subject and Objectives
We tried to evaluate the sustainability of forest utilization with particular emphasis on biodiversity. Biodiversity was assessed to identify the impact of various forest utilizations. The ecosystem services that may be lost with decreasing biodiversity needed to be identified, as well as the goods that biodiversity provides us. The driving forces and incentives behind recent changes in forest utilization systems were also to be studied. Thus, the evaluation both from the aspects of ecology and socio- economy would be assessed for every forest utilization systems including the traditional, and so-called sustainable systems in the region. Finally we tried to present new criteria or ways to evaluate the forest utilization systems with smaller long-term costs, or of long-lasting stable yields.
○Progress and Results in 2018
We clarified the following items.
(1) Historical change in forest utilization and its driving force.
- The changing patterns of forest utilization during recent 50-100 years were clarified in the four sites. The results were shown as land-use change maps and matrices.
- Driving forces and incentives behind the change were clarified.
(2) Impacts of forest utilization on biodiversity
- The biodiversity losses in each utilization option were elucidated for selected taxonomic groups. The results were shown as biodiversity maps.
- The mechanisms for maintaining and losing biodiversity in natural and disturbed systems were studied for selected taxonomic groups, and their interactive relationships.
(3) Functions and ecosystem services provided by forest biodiversity
- Ecosystem functions of biodiversity in each study site were evaluated in the sites. The results were shown as ecosystem function maps.
- For selected ecosystem services of biodiversity in each study site were studied. The results were shown as ecosystem services maps.
(4) Integrated evaluation of forest utilization
- Environmental economy of each utilization option were studied for several systems.
- Ecological and socioeconomic values of each utilization option were evaluated in selected sites.
(5) An integrated assessment method on sustainable uses of forest and biodiversity
(6) Published or upcoming products: Academic papers with peer review: 203 (English 165, Japanese 38). Papers in books: 67 (English 21, Japanese 46). For the Future of Biodiversity (11 chapters), a teaching resource for undergraduate students (RIHN and Showa-do, in Japanese). Forest degradation in Tropics of Southeast Asia (Jinbun shoin, in Japanese), Special issue in Ecological Research (2007), Sustainability and Diversity of Forest Ecosystem (2007 Springer), Photo Album on Biodiversity (CD), Project Final Report
As a main product from the project, a method of integrated assessment on sustainable uses of forest and biodiversity was developed, though some issues are still remained to be developed, which are: 1. Forest utilization with different scenarios could be shown using the matrix. However, more examination is necessary in order to reflect drivers behind forest changes on the matrix. 2. Regarding ecological services, continuous studies will be necessary for further evaluation. Several more kinds of ecosystem services could be evaluated in similar ways as we have done. 3. The assessment method of institutions should be refined for practical use. The evaluation will vary depending on sites, situation and local life of the people. Such variations should be considered in the assessment in actual.