Japan names four new sites for Ramsar COP10

23/10/2008

Japan names four new sites for COP10

The government of Japan has designated four more Wetlands of International Importance for the Ramsar List, and the Japanese delegation will be hosting a 30 October side event at Ramsar COP10 to celebrate the new Ramsar sites and receive the official site certificates.

Ramsar’s Pragati Tuladhar has prepared these brief site descriptions based on the accompanying Ramsar Information Sheets.

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Hyo-ko. 30/10/08; Niigata; 24 ha; 37°50’N, 139°14’E Habitat/Species Management Area, Natural Monument. Irrigation reservoirs created artificially in the Edo Period (1603-1867) and, since 1990-2000, a bird sanctuary located in the centre of Niigata Plain in Agano City, fed by the Oodoori river . IUCN Red-listed vulnerable species like Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) and Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) are found here, as well as Tundra Swans Cygnus columbianus above the 1% threshold. The site includes some nationally protected flora species as well. A marshy vegetation serves as habitat for 100 bird species for wintering purposes, aquatic plants and fish species. Hunting is prohibited at the site and local residents are involved in its conservation. Eutrophication and nearby residential development are seen as potential threats. A management plan is anticipated to enter into force in October 2008. Ramsar site no. 1842. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Kejo-numa. 30/10/08; Miyagi; 34 ha; 38°37′N, 141°57′E. Habitat /Species Management Area, National Protection Area. A reservoir as well as freshwater lake, located in the northeast of Osaki city, serves in flood control and irrigation of rice fields. The site provides habitat to vulnerable species like Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) and Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) as well as 13 bird species and 28 flora species in the national protected list, and it supports the 1% threshold for White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons) and Bean Geese (Anser fabalis serrirostris). Declines of native fish due to the release of Largemouth Bass and Bluegill present a threat. A national historical site “Ruin of Miyazawa” exists within the site. A management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1843. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Oyama Kami-ike and Shimo-ike. 30/10/08; Yamagata; 39 ha; 38°45’N 139°45’E. Habitat /Species Management Area, National Wildlife Protection Area. A freshwater lake as well as irrigation reservoir for the past 400 years, which supplies water to the agricultural fields. The site is important for vulnerable species under the IUCN Red List like Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) and Baikal Teal (Anas formosa), and it supports Anatidae species, exceeding 20,000 individuals and 1% threshold of species of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Tundra Swans (Cygnus columbianus). It also supports 18 fish species. Kami-ike is used for cultivating lotus commercially. A management plan is anticipated to enter into force in October 2008. Ramsar site no. 1844. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Streams in Kume-jima. 30/10/08; Okinawa; 255 ha; 26°22’N 126°46’E. Habitat/ Species Management Area, Habitat Conservation Area. The site mainly consists of streams flowing from Mt Uegusuku on Kume-jima in the Ryukyu Islands, creating an important habitat for endangered species under IUCN Red List and National Protected Species lists, including bird species like Amami Woodcock (Scolopax mira) and reptile species like Kikuzato’s Stream (or Brook) Snake (Opisthotropis kikuzatoi), Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica), and Kuroiwa ground gecko (Goniurosaurus kuroiwae yamashinae) as well as some endemic species. The vegetation with Psychotria rubra - Castanopsis sieboldiissp. lutchuensis and Pinus luchuensis serves as excellent habitat for these rare species. Ruins of Uegusuku Castle in the site are an Okinawa Prefectural historical site. Surrounding communities use stream water for liquor production. Decrease of stream flow due to water withdrawals, disruption by invasive alien species like Bullfrogs(Rana catesbeiana), and disturbance to stream environment from gusty heavy rain and floods due to steep landscapes are some of the potential threats in the site. A management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1845. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

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