This paper first outlines major mountain studies conducted in world's mountain areas outside Japan by Japanese scientists ; describes the initiatives of the United Nations University (UNU) leading to the establishment of the Japanese International Year of Mountains (IYM) National Committee and to the Japanese activities for IYM; examines major Japanese IYM activities; and, discusses the future directions of mountain sciences by Japanese reseachers under the framework of IYM and beyond. At the end of the 19th century, Japanese reserchers started to broaden their study areas in many Asian countries including Taiwan, Nepal, Sikkim-India, and China. Mountain research by Japanese reserchers is nowadays conducted all over the world : however, such studies have not necessarily been adequately evaluated because of language difficulties. Meanwhile, the United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo, has conducted mountain programs in developing countries during the last 25 years. The UNU with great financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, has had weak connections with Japanese mountain scientists. During talks among Japanese scientists, mountaineers, and UNU officers, the Japanese side developed ideas about activities for IYM and created the IYM National Committee. The Japanese IYM National Committee launched in 2001 was composed of representatives from academic disciplines such as geography and forestry, and those from mountaineering groups. The committee itself had no function for conducting research projects. Its major tasks were to organize and hold many symposiums and forums, and to publicize the meaning and the importance of IYM through posters, leaflets, articles, and a home page (www.iym-japan.org). More than 100 IYM-related articles were published in 2002. Several journals published special issues during the year, which include Global Environmental Research (Vol. 6, No. 1), Science Journal Kagaku (Vol. 72, No. 12), Journal of Geography (Vol. 111, No. 4), Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie (supplement volume 130), and Japan Map Center News (No. 358). The majority of IYM activities in Japan, however, focused on domestic problems, such as overuse in high mountain areas and decline of forestry, which were discussed in 26 symposiums and forums for IYM. As a result, international attention was not drawn to most Japanese IYM activities. Japanese scientists may continue to focus on domestic problems such as overuse and forestry decline. With extensive experience accumulated in the past, however, more Japanese scientists should address various mountain problems in developing countries as well. To fulfill this goal, it will be important to establish mechanisms to share the results with related individuals and organizations abroad, especially in Asian countries. Participation in the International Mountain Partnership Program endorsed by Bishkek Global Mountain Summit, which targets another decade of international collaboration to tackle various mountain problems, will be another important component to be realized by Japanese.
Japanese geographers have conducted geoecological studies in mountain areas at least since the 1960s. These studies can be classified into two major streams : traditional geoecological studies focusing on natural environments and applied geoecological studies including human impact on the natural environment. Three major agendas of post-IYM (International Year of Mountains) geoecological research for the next decade were discussed, which include (1) conservation of biodiversity and environmental assessment, (2) sustainable development and conservation, and (3) evaluation of global warming. Although the number of published papers of such studies and of symposia/fora have increased especially since the 1990s, the methodological development incorporating GIS into geoecological research still legs. Training and encouraging capable persons with knowledge of fragile mountain geoecosystem and/or with special talents in geoecosystem conservation are urgently needed in individuals and various institutions such as local governments, mountain communities, environmental assessment and engineering companies, travel agencies, mountain guide groups, and NGOs.
It is generally assumed that the Japanese society and culture have been developed on the basis of the agriculture, especially on the rice field cultivation. Hunting, therefore, has been considered a sub-culture insignificant in the socio-cultural context as a whole. The author, however, is of the opinion that the two activities, agriculture and hunting, which are seemingly unrelated in outlook, have been strongly linked and have played complementary roles to each other. Japanese traditional hunters, Matagi, played an important role here as semi-professional hunters, and their hunting has increasingly become market-oriented. Agricultural activities inevitably destroy the natural habitat of wildlife by reclaiming or clearing forests to make the land suitable for cultivation, thus eliminating wild animals. Ironically, however, crops grown on cultivated land, which are rich in nutrition, attract wild animals. If the farmers intend to keep high productivity, those animals must be efficiently expelled from the man-controlled area. Agriculture is simply incompatible with wild animals. Hunting for a living, on the other hand, in essentially to capture wild animals, they are either consumed as various resources by the hunter himself or sold or exchanged for the necessities of life. To ensure sustainable hunting, the number of wild animals must also be sustained, which means the number of captures and the reproduction of animals must be well balanced. Hunting activities thus inevitably require coexistence with wildlife. Hunting and the agriculture, contradiction in principle, however, could and actually have cooperated to form a complementary relationship, which could be called a system : the hunters eliminated wild animals from cultivated land, and the crops attracted game animals for hunting. Around the peripheries of cultivated areas such complementary relationships have been and still are sustained. Historically, such relationships were gradually established from 17th to 18th centuries, when the Edo Shogunate encouraged as its policy to expand agricultural lands. With the technological advances of irrigation systems, marshlands and shoals were turned into rice fields in the plains, and hills and valleys were cultivated in the mountain regions. Hunting then gradually became involved in the agricultural activities to protect farmland from wild animals. In the later period of the Edo Shogunate, the farmers themselves began to capture or chase wild animals out of farmland. At the same time, some hunters with highly professional hunting techniques began further chasing and hunting game animals beyond the cultivated lands. Villages experiencing greater damage from wild animals often hired such hunters. The resources obtained from the captured animals and birds, such as furs, hides, feathers, tendons, meat, and internal organs and bones for medical use, were supplied to the local markets. Hunting thus found its niche at the peripheries of agriculture and the market that demanded animal resources, though limited in quantities and in the number of consumers the market might have been. The flow of animal resources, from agricultural land, to the hunters, then to the market, seems to have been established as a system around 18th to 19th centuries, as the monetary system began to prevail and currency was widely used. As Japan turned into the Modern Ages, hunting became more market-oriented and also strictly controlled : hunting was encouraged to supply furs for export to Europe and the US, and for the military use under the Imperial militaristic government at the time. A historical review of hunting in Japan suggests that, as for the conservation of wildlife, a historical and socio-cultural viewpoint is essential along with ecological and ethological research.
As most forests are located in mountainous areas in Japan, land management in mountainous ares means forest management. In this paper forest management in Japan in the 21st century is discussed in relation to a Circulatory Society, an ideal sustainable society. As a result, it is pointed out that the forest should be managed based on the environmental theorem of forests ; that is, the most fundamental function of forests is as a component of natural environment. A forest also should be managed considering the new relationship between forests driven only by solar energy (therefore, results in zero emissions) and cities driven by mass artificial energy and underground resources (which produce mass waste).
The purpose of this paper is to discuss a fundamental way of thinking about how to sustain forests for the next generation. First, I propose an imaginary model representing the mathematical relationship between the exponentially increasing inner and decreasing outer worlds with growth rates + p and - p, respectively. Second, I present some examples of the circulation-type model concerned with growing stock and age distribution in forestry. Third, I discuss how to sustain forests for the next generation in terms of sustainability, technology, economy, and institution.
The forested area in Japan has been miraculously and consistently kept at a constant level of approximately 65% of the land area (about 25 million hectares) for a long time, despite pressure from an increasing population and industrialization. In addition to the traditional forestry plantation areas, coniferous trees have been planted every year since the 1950's. As a result, coniferous plantations have since occupied about a quarter of the land (over 10 million hectares), and conifers that require thinning occupy the majority of existing plantations. However, the Japanese forestry industry has been in economic difficulty trying to survive in the global market. In spite of the potential timber production, domestic production supplies only 20% of the demand, mainly due to the high production costs caused by a gradual rise in labor wages and steep mountainous terrain. Tending and harvesting plantations will be given the priority over protecting natural forests in the world. Forestry operations, especially in young stands, will have to meet economic and environmental conditions to implement sustainable forest management. Educating and maintaining forestry workers, and the sound development of mountain villages are seriously important problems.
When forest resources are required to be used sustainably, the role of the plantation forestry becomes larger year by year. Forestry in Japan has experienced a very long period of stagnation and many difficulties including a decline of forestry profits, aging of forest workers, and increasing forest areas that are neglected with no thinning operations. To overcome these difficulties, governmental measures, efforts by private companies and researches in the field of Forest Engineering, have been underway in recent decades, but such efforts did not bring good results on the whole, especially after the late 1970s. The main reason for the stagnation of forestry in Japan is that timber production costs in Japan were undercut by imported timber. We need to concentrate on collaborative efforts by government, private companies, and researchers in the field of Forest Engineering in Japan to reduce timber production costs. At the same time, the timber marketing system itself should be reconsidered to avoid improper imports of foreign timber produced without any care for forest regeneration. To restore forestry in Japan, it is most important for people to know the real situation of forestry in Japan, and those engaged in forestry should speak about the problems based on their specialties.
This paper tests the assumption that forests should be utilized rather than protected for their conservation based on some cases in Indonesia and Iran. Generally, it is believed that forests can be better conserved by means of fences or laws ; however, this is not true in many developing countries because people readily break either fences or laws to survive. In Indonesia, a forest in Java Island is being conserved through a partnership of its manager and local people. This motivates the local people to conserve the forest, because benefits derived from the forest are shared by both the manager and the local people. It should be stressed that forest conservation results in failure if benefits derived from forests are monopolized by their manager or owner, or if local people are excluded from forests designated as a national park. In Iran, a forestry company is planting and harvesting trees based on its scientific forest management plan. In addition, this forest may to be used by the local people for recreation. In conclusion, forests should be utilized rather than protected by fences or laws to be better conserved, especially in developing countries.
In Japan, mountain villages experienced serious losses of population in the period of rapid economic growth. Therefore, the central government took policies in line with depressions in mountain villages, investing a large amount of financial funds to improve backward conditions. Local economies were dramatically reconstructed by newly located manufacturing and construction industries. However, the economic system for sustaining mountain communities faced increasing difficulties after the 1990's. On the other hand, the Great Merger of the Heisei Era is under way, involving small municipalities in mountainous areas. In the 1990's, population losses continued in most mountain municipalities, although some municipalities around the three major metropolitan areas show a slight increase or tendency to stagnate. The rapid aging of the population is crucial, especially in the western part of Japan. As for the economic recession, the manufacturing labor market is shrinking sharply due to the rapid shift of factories to developing countries represented by China. The construction industry maintains employment because of public investment to achieve a national economic recovery in the early 1990's. The mountain village economy has been transformed by economic globalization and structural reforms by the Japanese government. The author proposes an alternative economic sector named the integrated cultural service industry composed of agriculture, forestry, tourism, and local culture. The consolidation of municipalities in mountainous areas is examined on the basis of the history of mergers and the present consolidation plan. Most mountain municipalities will be obliged to merge, because the population size of mountain municipalities is below 10000, which is the critical level for survival without merging. Such consolidation involves the risk of hiding the problems of mountain village communities from society. The author points out the future prospects of mountainous areas for overcoming the peripheral economic conditions and conserving natural eco-systems. Such a future direction emphasizes the significance of a global point of view, which leads to a reevaluation of mountainous areas in the 21st century.
Generally, moutain and hill areas are regarded as being remoter and less developed than lowlands where well-developed urban centers are located, although most dwellers of lowlands are peasants in rural area. Accordingly, mountain people are considered to be backward, and marginal compared to the inhabitants of lowlands. However, some mountain and hill areas are not mere peripheries of the center, but are borders of plural centers. This means that the inhabitants of such areas are able to fulfill the role of mediators among plural centers. Further, through the unique features of the environment of mountains and hills, secondary centers of specific types come into existence occasionally. On one hand, the environments of mountains and hills prescribe those inhabitants' ways of life, how they cope with and adapt to environments as the subject, and even try to transform them.
This study discusses the present political and cultural situation of resources and environment of mountains in South Asia, and views recent research trends and perspectives of the author's studies in the context of modern South Asia. Mountain regions were never the center or the target area of development policy, but rather they were just viewed as natural resources to be exploited for the economic/industrial development of the plains. The living world of the mountain people, who possess tribal culture that is more or less different from the caste Hindu society of the plains, at the same time also received less attention. But, recent environmental movements in South Asia within a few decades have gained strength and awakened the political awareness of mountain people. This was the effect of the well-known Chipko movement and the Save Narmada movement, which had many features of the Gandian movements. These conflicts over natural resources or the environment are worth studying as they clearly show us the nature of political ecology in modern South Asia. Because of this, environment studies in the fields of human and social sciences have greatly increased in recent years. In the author's study in Rajasthan, the Rabari involved conflicts over grazing resources, shows there are many not well-known conflicts where adjacent communities struggle with each other over the use of resources, and where the roles of political parties are significant. Compared to other regions, South Asia can be regarded as one of the most conflicted cases in the world. Another perspective of the author's studies on milk and meat relates not only to politics but also the cultural ecology of the South Asia. The author states the view that human geo-ecological studies of milk/meat from production to consumption can help to open up new cultural views of Ahimsa (non-violence), Sacred Cow, Vegetalianism, etc., which are values of the South Asian civilization.
Shifting cultivation (Swidden) in a tradition of the Jinuo people in Xishuangbanna Dai National Autonomous Prefecture (Yunnan Province, southwestern part of China). The Jinuo, a minority in mountainous regions, places shifting cultivation at the centre of their lives. This rational and sustainable agricultural system is well suited to the ecological environment in their region. Hunting and gathering of wild plants and insects play a very important role in sustaining communities that practice shifting cultivation. The inhabitants of the area possess great knowledge about their environment and the forest, for example, “holly hill”, which is their preserved forest. While shifting cultivation was an appropriate art under conditions of low population density and abundant forest resources, the inhabitants have been obliged to change their agricultural system fundamentally because of population growth since the 1950s. The decrease of forested areas in the southwestern end of China has been caused by this population growth and increased areas needed for shifting cultivation by the minority societies. Population growth is destructive to the sustainability of shifting cultivation, along with the introduction of a responsibility system for agricultural production in the 1980s. Today, minorities are keen on introducing cash crops on a large scale such as natural rubber, tea, and herbs for Chinese medicines under the control of government authorities. The Swidden may be declining and the fields will change to permanently cultivated land in the near future.
The Lahu people, a highland dwelling ethnic minority in mainland Southeast Asia and southwest China, have historically practiced swidden agriculture, and for many generations lived and moved in areas under the pressures of diverse valley dwelling peoples. Their whole population probably exceeds 70, 000, most of whom lived in the remote areas within five modern states : China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. In each of these states governed by lowland peoples, the Lahu are an ethnic minority without a country of their own. However, if we change our viewpoint, the Lahu appear as people with different attributes. While on a political map comprising modern nation-states the Lahu are divided and included in the five sovereign states, whereas on a topographic map, the Lahu settlement area appears as one geographical area and the people live in one environmental niche. Actually, in pre-modern time, natural environments were the primary condition defining the life-ways of peoples, both highlanders and lowlanders. Diverse ethnic peoples in the pre-modern Lahu settlement area interact with each other, which constituted a patterned ethnic constellation. This ethnic relation, however, began to change after Western colonialism introduced modern notions of nation-state, international boundary, and sovereignty. In the modern era, these modern ideologies have become political reality through diverse national policies for nation-building. Now, even in the remote areas where the Lahu people often find themselves, one cannot live without being influenced by a central government. The lives and the world view of the Lahu people have also become more and more conditioned by the modern conceptual framework of nation-state. However, the Lahu of North Thailand still refer to themselves as “mountain people”. This self-identification is based on the binary opposition between “mountain” and “plain” or “town”. The Lahu understand modern concepts mainly from a pre-modern worldview. Modern concepts, for example, “government” is perceived less as an abstract agency rather than as a personalized patron-like ethnic neighbor who both oppresses and supports its people. On the other hand, modern ideas, such as “state” and “development” seem to have gradually enter Lahu concepts. The present Lahu perception is based both on the pre-modern and modern conceptual frameworks, and the power relation between the two frameworks changes depending on conditions. Moreover, another huge process, “globalization”, could in the future modify the basis on which the Lahu view the world surrounding them. Studying the world-views of marginal peoples, including the Lahu, requires multiple perspectives, and should not be limited either to area or national conceptual frameworks.
This study examines migration patterns of livestock herds in mobile pastoralism of yak/yak-cattle hybrid in two areas in eastern Nepal Himalaya : the Bharku Village, Langtang National Park, and the Ghunsa Valley, Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. The migration patterns were mapped in detail, identifying every household of herders in the research areas (six households in the Bharku, and eleven households in the Ghunsa Valley), and those patterns were analyzed in terms of natural resource use and influence of mountain tourism. Both field observations and interviews with herders revealed that the summer pastures were concentrated at the highest grazing areas, mostly spreading in the alpine belt, regardless of livestock type (yak and yak hybrid), while the winter pastures ranged widely in altitude even among households keeping a same type of livestock (yak). Measuring milk production indicated that the period of stay in the alpine pastures corresponded to that of high milk production. Migration of herds to the alpine pastures occurred simultaneously in herders' groups under the control of their organizations. On the other hand, the diversity of herd migration patterns in winter suggested dependence of those patterns on households' livelihood strategies. Herders of Tibetan refugees showed a migration pattern, which was different from the local one, staying in the alpine area throughout the year. Also, some herders changed their migration patterns and returned to higher pastures in the fall in the Ghunsa Valley to earn some money by providing accommodations to trekkers, who visit the area mostly in that period of the year to avoid the monsoon rain since the recent opening of the Ghunsa Valley to foreigners. On the other hand, herders in the Bharku changed their summer pastures to avoid a mass of pilgrims, a traditional type of mountain tourism in Himalaya, who visit Gosainkunda, a famous sacred place located above the herders' grazing area, on the occasion of a festival called Janai Purnima. These facts suggest the flexibility of migration patterns in mobile pastoralism of yak/yak-hybrids under the influence of newcomers and mountain tourism. Both natural and social influences caused by these recent changes of migration pattern need to be monitored in view of environmental management of higher Himalaya.
The Gojal in the northern part of Hunza, Northern Areas of Pakisutan, is located in parts of the Karakoram range and the Pamir plateau. This area is inhabited by “Wakhi”, a Persian speaking ethnic group. As the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which is the main route connecting Islamabad with China, had been constructed through Gojal, the benefits of road transportation and the inflow of foreign tourists changed the situations of agriculture, tourism, and life styles of the villagers. Additionally, the development was also quickened by the promotion of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). In Hussaini village, the traditional agricultural system, based on the rotation system of wheat, barley, and peas has decreased, and potatoes (as a commodity) have become the main crop in recent years. Because of good accessibility to the main resources of mountain tourism in Passu village, several lodging establishments, shops, and vehicles are now owned, and almost all of the villagers have been engaged with tourism. These changes in the region, however, are not suitable for the sustainable development of agriculture and tourism. For the future development of the region, intensive activities and efforts of villagers are necessary to establish a sustainable system supported by regional resources, i.e., natural landscapes and the traditional culture.