The effects of human activity on the formation and maintenance of seepage marshes, which are small oligotrophic wetlands formed by seepage water, were examined. The study site was Yanami marsh in Toyota city, central Japan. The distribution of the grassland community in the marsh and its relationships to groundwater level, changes in land use and vegetation surrounding the marsh, and characteristics and stratigraphy of the marsh sediment were surveyed. Human activity in the form of construction of a sand-trap dam or creation of rice paddies influenced the process of formation of Yanami marsh. Human activity also affected the succession of the grassland community in the marsh. The type of grassland community present was mainly determined by the groundwater level, which likely varied with changes in the state of the vegetation surrounding the marsh; this vegetation was maintained and used by local people. In addition, disturbances caused by frequent mudslides and by mowing of wetland grass for fertilizer or forage likely also affected the vegetation succession in the marsh. It is concluded that seepage marshes can be formed under the influence of human activity and maintain their characteristic vegetation.
This paper reexamines various findings on naming principles and spatial units of folk plot names, which are informally assigned by residents themselves to each rice paddy and dry field surrounded by a ridge. Each folk name derivation, spatial unit, land use, size, angle of inclination, height of stone-faced slopes, and surrounding landscape elements were investigated. This study covered 139 plots held by eight case-study households within Houki and Koba villages on Hirado Island, which has numerous steep terraced paddies and dispersed villages. Several key findings were obtained regarding naming principles: the frequency of use of four cognitive linguistic principles (simplified attributes, part–whole relationships, spatial adjacency, and temporal adjacency) in the two villages is clearly different from that in villages on a plain outside the island; the frequency of such use also differs among households within a single village; some plot names are based on plural principles; and the residents' ability to organize their knowledge of plot names effectively is based on other methods in addition to the adaptation of minor place names. Moreover, key concepts of cognitive linguistics such as affordance, prototype, landmark, and trajectory, as well as base and profile, can theoretically explain the method of naming plots. The existing hypotheses on spatial units of folk plot names need to be partially revised for various reasons: people reduce the amount of spatial information not only by adaptation of common minor place names to household plot names but also by frequent adaptation of common nouns, while using the same names of such nouns within separate farm areas; two plots previously divided as a result of a landform change such as a landslide may still share the same plot name; a plot name is rarely given to a half-plot; and one case-study household cultivates some plots that have not been named.
Regional and seasonal variability of rainfall characteristics was investigated in Nepal on the southern slopes of the Himalayas using long-term daily rainfall data. Cluster analysis was applied to define subregions in Nepal based on the seasonal progression of precipitation. The results identified four subregions. The characteristics of the seasonal progression of daily average precipitation indicate the significance of premonsoon rainfall in April and May in the eastern part of Nepal. Comparisons of seasonal changes in rainfall characteristics in each subregion showed that increases in rainfall amount, number of days on which rain falls, and rainfall intensity occur during the summer monsoon season with a peak in July, expect in the western mountainous region. In the western region and northern part of the eastern mid-hill region, rainfall amount and rainfall intensity increase in the winter season. Moreover, a significant change in rainfall intensity occurs in the eastern Terai region between the summer and winter season.
Large old manufacturing plants located in the Tokyo metropolitan area are prized assets of major Japanese companies. Because of the high land value of these facilities, they can be sold to private land developers to gain new capital investment. Many such factories have already been closed to construct office buildings and condominiums. However, some core factories still exist, although their role has changed from manufacturing to conducting R&D. The purpose of this study was to analyze the changes in land use, employment, and functions of such large factories. The focus was on the old industrial area along the Tokaido Line in the southwestern suburbs of Tokyo about 15–50 km from the city center. The landscape of this area has changed dramatically. To understand this change, we investigated the changes in land use of 165 factories along the line from 1974 to 2010. The results indicated that although about half of these factories had been closed, the rest were surviving in some areas. To determine changes in employment, we examined the restructuring processes of 26 companies using securities reports, newspaper articles, and company histories. The number of blue-collar workers has decreased in most of the surviving factories since the late 1970s. On the other hand, the ratio of R&D employees has been increasing because of new R&D departments established in the 1980s and 1990s. To clarify such functional changes within these large factories, we interviewed representatives of 10 surviving companies from September to November 2010. It was found that given the intense global competition, major Japanese companies have adopted a new location strategy to strengthen their competitiveness. They have concentrated their R&D facilities and mother factories in their home base and decentralized mass-production plants in developing countries. In the Tokyo metropolitan area, they tend to establish new R&D facilities within their large old factories. The reasons for their reinvestments can be summarized in the following three points. 1) Some companies, such as Bridgestone and Sumitomo Electric, evaluated the co-location of their R&D and production functions and proximity to the center of Tokyo, since their location facilitates intra- and intercompany face-to-face communications. 2) Other companies, such as Morinaga and TOTO, built additional laboratories aimed at user-oriented innovation. 3) Other companies, such as Yamatake, NOK, and Takeda Pharmaceutical, integrated their previously dispersed R&D functions into new R&D facilities. It was expected that this fusion of different types of R&D unit would enable their activities to become more efficient and to create synergy effects.
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