2018 Volume 8 Pages 81-97
The distinctive seepage wetlands in the Tokai region of central Japan provide important habitats for a variety of wildlife. The Iwayado area of Nakatsugawa-city, Gifu Prefecture, has a particularly large number of these wetlands, and we have investigated their floral and faunal characteristics, and their cultural and historical significance to local people. In a vegetation survey of one seepage wetland, we recorded 79 species of vascular plants, 6 of which were listed in the national red list. In addition, we set automatic sensor cameras to record main mammals occurring wetlands. Also common were mammal species typical of Satoyama (transitional agricultural-wildland habitat), such as raccoon dogs. According to interviews with the land owners of seepage wetlands, the families have been living in Iwayado area since at least 180 years ago. They have used seepages as the source of water, firewood, timbers, and edible wild herbs and even cultural materials for a long time. The seepage wetlands are perceived as important lands succeeded from their ancestors, and in recent years the significance of these lands has also been recognized in terms of their biodiversity, such as presence of endangered plants. In conclusion, seepage wetlands contain both natural and cultural values from their (1) high floral biodiversity, including regional endemic and threatened species, (2) abundance of wildlife, and (3) long-standing cultural and historical significance to local communities, especially landowners.