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Vol. 56 (2001) P 33-41



The present status of the molluscs of the Suô-nada Sea coast is reported, and conservation of the species diversity there is discussed. This place is exceptional in modern Japan due to its extremely high biodiversity. Few people appreciate the rich biota in these tidal-flat ecosystems, and major destruction there has already begun. For the conservation of the biota of the Suô-nada Sea, it is essential to recognize the relationships between species and their microhabitats, because the habitats of most tidal-flat species are very restricted in space. Here I discuss some major problems in the conduct of environmental assessment studies in Japan, as illustrated by research into the expected impact on the molluscan fauna of the construction of the Kaminoseki Nuclear Power Plant on Nagashima Island. These problems include misidentifications, underestimation of faunal or ecological richness, failure of artificial plantings or mitigation, misleading treatment of the concept of conservation, and emphasis on protection of only a few species useful for human beings. I also discuss the role of amateur researchers in the conservation of tidal flats. Amateurs sometimes can provide new and precise information on the status of species, which is important when there have been recent rapid changes in environmental conditions. On the other hand, amateurs must understand that many species are endangered today and should not be overhunted only for private purposes.

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