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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

02/28/2018

Takachihogo-Shiibayama Site

Summary

The GIAHS site is a steep mountainous site enclosed by the peaks of the Kyushu-Mountains, ranging from 1,000 to 1,700 meters in elevation. Mentioned in ancient Japanese chronicles such as the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, myths and traditions are cherished even today. In this tough, forest-enclosed environment where flat land is extremely sparse, the people have established a distinctive and sustainable composite system of agriculture and forestry in the mountainous Site through a combination of labor and ingenuity.

The local people have established a composite management system of agriculture and forestry, which combines timber production with diverse farming that generates revenue each year. With the system, households earn their livelihood by using forest through timber harvesting, reclamation in a sustainable manner, which makes this site a valuable model for the world. This balance is symbolized by the distinctive mosaic-pattern forest landscape—in which conifers such as Japanese cedar and Hinoki cypress, deciduous broadleaf trees such as Sawtooth oak, and evergreen broadleaf trees spread out in a patchwork pattern—formed through the joint management of timber production and shiitake mushroom cultivation forest, which is particularly apparent in the eastern part of the Site.

Since 1988, the local people, with a growing passion for maintaining forest resources and developing the Site, have been devoting their energy to not only maintaining the traditional mountainous composite management system of agriculture and forestry but also to promoting interchange between cities and rural communities, providing experiential learning activities, based on a shared Forestopia vision that will create a spiritually rich lifestyle by effectively leveraging the abundant forest resources and the traditional life and culture arising from them.

As the above indicates, this system is not just a distinctive mountainous composite management system of agriculture and forestry associated with a precious traditional culture—it is also a valuable model for the world, showing the harmony between the forest and agriculture.