Integrating ecological and cultural values toward conservation and utilization of shrine/temple forests as urban green space in Japanese cities

Hiroaki T. Ishii, Tohru Manabe, Keitaro Ito, Naoko Fujita, Ayumi Imanishi, Daisuke Hashimoto, Ayako Iwasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Japan, forests associated with shrines and temples are recognized as important components of urban green space, which can potentially function as centers for ecosystem conservation in rapidly urbanizing Japanese cities. In addition to their ecological value, shrine/temple forests have social value, providing recreational and aesthetic needs to residents of urban areas. We review the historical development of shrine/temple forests in Japan and discuss current conservation issues from both ecological and sociological perspectives. Generally, shrine forests are minimally managed and public access is discouraged, whereas temple forests are intensively managed for public display. Shrines tend to be spatially scattered across the landscape but associated with specific geographical features, whereas temples tend to be clustered. Their wide and random distribution in urban areas suggests that shrine forests can potentially be used as stepping stones in the urban green space network, whereas spatially clustered temple forests can be integrated to form large areas of green space. Species diversity of shrine/temple forests declines with decreasing area. The distribution pattern of species is not completely nested, indicating that although conservation of large forest fragments may be effective for maintaining landscape-level biodiversity, smaller forest fragments and adjacent precincts are sometimes significant because rare species occasionally inhabit them. Active management and ecological restoration, such as removal of invasive species, are also important to maintain the desirable near-natural forest conditions. A working group including the owner, community, regional government, and ecologists should be involved in creating an effective, long-term management plan. Because social and cultural values are diverse, basic ecological studies of shrine/temple forests would contribute a scientific basis that fosters public confidence in the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalLandscape and Ecological Engineering
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2010
Externally publishedYes

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urban green
green space
city
urban area
public access
rare species
esthetics
invasive species
species diversity
biodiversity
ecosystem
distribution
public
restoration
natural forest
management plan
social value
removal

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Integrating ecological and cultural values toward conservation and utilization of shrine/temple forests as urban green space in Japanese cities. / Ishii, Hiroaki T.; Manabe, Tohru; Ito, Keitaro; Fujita, Naoko; Imanishi, Ayumi; Hashimoto, Daisuke; Iwasaki, Ayako.

In: Landscape and Ecological Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 2, 06.07.2010, p. 307-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Ishii, Hiroaki T. ; Manabe, Tohru ; Ito, Keitaro ; Fujita, Naoko ; Imanishi, Ayumi ; Hashimoto, Daisuke ; Iwasaki, Ayako. / Integrating ecological and cultural values toward conservation and utilization of shrine/temple forests as urban green space in Japanese cities. In: Landscape and Ecological Engineering. 2010 ; Vol. 6, No. 2. pp. 307-315.
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