This page is based on the annual report of Japanese Alps Inter-University Cooperative project 2011.

1. Objectives and Method

About 30 members belong to the ecosystem research group. The discipline and means vary. Building upon the discussion in meetings held before the start-up of the program, our group decided on two main objectives in the meeting held on October 16th, 2010.

A1 Elucidation of ecosystem alteration in the Japanese Alps
A2 Restoration and recreation of ecological resources

To achieve these objectives, we decided to employ the following three methods:

B1 Investigating biodiversity decline in ecological hotspots
B2 Investigating the relationship between elevation and ecological communities and systems
B3 Artificial warming experiment

2. Roles of members

In the meeting held on October 16th, 2010, the members presented their own research issues, and we classified each research based on objectives and methods. Table1 summarizes the classification.

Based on classification, we identified cooperative research themes.

B1 Investigating biodiversity decline in ecological hotspots

An analysis of ecosystems and their diversity at high altitude, revealing the effects of environmental change on each ecological component (e.g., animal fauna, flora, and microbiota), employing remote sensing and ground truth investigations at three reference areas (alpine meadows at Senjogatake in the south Alps, Komagatake in the central Alps, and Yari-Hodaka in the north Alps).

B2 Investigating the relationship between elevation and ecological communities and systems

Development of a sensor for environmental change (warming) employing an indicator species and an indicator community in the Japanese Alps
Investigating the relationship between elevation and biodiversity at the ecological community level
Investigating genetic variation within species along altitudinal gradients

B3 Artificial warming experiment

Artificial warming experiment with open-top champers (OTCs) on forest limits

3. Presentation of research results and discussion for FY2010

In the annual meeting held on December 17th, 2010, twenty five research studies were presented. During the group meeting, we discussed the significance of each of the researches. We chose “environmental response” as the research approach and “individual level” as the research object. These additions modified the research classification from 3 × 3 into that of 4 × 4. Based on this research classification, we decided to intensify the research cooperation and sharing of information.

Furthermore, we shared the following information about the different features of the research being conducted in our group: investigation of plant association on biodiversity hotspot, and the relationships between elevation and ecosystem with wide range of biological level.

4. Future works

As fruits of the meeting, the following action assignments arose:

/Cooperation with other research groups, particularly the carbon cycle group
/ Dealing with the following research themes to achieve objective A2:

Endangered species in mountainous areas
Conservation of biodiversity
Countermeasures against animal damage
Use of remote sensing for forest management and biodiversity investigation

/Others (e.g., intensive research on an ecological hotspot, Lobby for research funds)