Biodiversity Center of Japan, Ministry of the Environment, Japan
The Ministry of the Environment, Japan (MOE-J) has been conducting long-term monitoring of important ecosystems since 2003, called “Monitoring Sites of Important Ecosystems” or “Monitoring Sites 1000” in short. The aim is to continuously track changes in various ecosystems in Japan, at fixed points in more than 1000 sites nationwide over a long period of time (targeting 100 years). The monitoring started in 2004 and MOE-J summarizes survey results every five-years for each type of ecosystem. The results of these surveys are used as basic data for biodiversity conservation measures including the designation of protected areas and preparation of the Red List and influence other biodiversity-related policy. The survey results will also help to assess the progress on Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the implementation of other conservation measures.
The results of the surveys on migratory Anatidae (swans, geese and ducks) and shorebirds are below.
Summary Report on Anatidae Surveys
The Monitoring Site 1000 Anatidae Survey started in 2004, collecting count data on swans, geese and ducks, using them as indicators of inland wetland ecosystem health. Surveys were conducted at 80 sites, mainly at lakes and ponds, each year from September until May the following year.
The Summary Report on Anatidae Surveys includes data between 2004 and 2012/13 (9 years). It describes the number of species and the number of individuals in each species at each site, as well as national trends. It also evaluates each site according to Ramsar Convention and East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Flyway Network Site criteria and updates population estimates of each species that are on the Red List.
According to the report, in addition to the existing Ramsar Sites, 31 more sites meet Ramsar Criterion 5 (a wetland which regularly supports 20,000 or more migratory waterbirds) or 6 (a wetland which regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of migratory waterbird). In the case of threatened species, numbers of Cackling Goose and Snow Goose that visit Japan have been increasing since the survey started. Details are available in Japanese at: http://www.env.go.jp/press/100462.html
Besides Monitoring Site 1000 Anatidae Survey, Annual Census on Waterfowl (Anatidae) Population is also conducted in mid-January every year, with the cooperation of the prefectural governments. For more information, please visit http://www.biodic.go.jp/gankamo/gankamo_top.html (Japanese only).
Summary Report on Shorebirds Surveys
The Monitoring Site 1000 Shorebirds Survey collects count data on shorebirds, using them as indicators of tidal flat ecosystem health, since shorebirds feed on benthos (annelid, shellfish, crustacean and others) and microorganisms. Surveys are conducted at 141 sites three times a year, Spring (April and May), Autumn (August and September), and Winter (December to February).
The Summary Report on Shorebirds Surveys includes data between 2004 and 2012/13 seasons (9 years). It describes the number of species and the number of individuals in each species at each site, and national trends. It also evaluates each site according to Ramsar Convention criteria and updates population estimates for each species that are on the Red List.
According to the report, the total number of individuals of all shorebird species decreased in Spring and Autumn seasons between 2000 and 2012. In addition to existing Ramsar Sites in Japan, 25 more sites met the Ramsar Criterion 6 (a wetland which regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird). Among threatened species, number of individuals of Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank have been continuously decreasing approaching extinction. Numbers of Kentish Plover, Far-eastern Curlew, and Spotted Redshank also decreased. Details are available in Japanese at: http://www.env.go.jp/press/100463.html
Monitoring Sites 1000 – Survey supported by citizens
Citizens active in local communities contribute to Monitoring Sites 1000 to a large degree by collaborating with researchers in order to survey more efficiently and effectively. MOE-J prepared manuals and have been holding training sessions and seminars to support citizen activities. Every year MOE-J organize national meetings focused on species groups, such as Anatidae or shorebirds or ecosystem types, such as Satoyama Ecosystem. These meetings enhance coordination and building networks among survey participants. They also promote information sharing among researchers and citizen scientists, and recruit new surveyors.
Monitoring Sites 1000 Website: http://www.biodic.go.jp/moni1000/index.html (Japanese only, English page will be available soon)
The Biodiversity Center of Japan conducts ornithological research including the Monitoring Site 1000, the Census on Waterfowl Populations, and the Bird Banding Survey. In addition, BCJ conducts the National Survey on the Natural Environment to study vegetation. Introduction, reports and data of such surveys are available on the website of the BCJ.