Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Plant diversity in the dynamic mosaic landscape of an agricultural heritage system: the Minabe-Tanabe Ume system.

Abstract

The Minabe-Tanabe Ume System in central Japan is defined as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This study examined relationships between parcel-level plant diversity and land use, management, and development in traditional sloped Ume (Japanese apricot; Prunus mume) orchards and adjoining level orchards recently developed through large-scale cut-fill land development. We constructed and overlaid past (1974) and present (2015) digital land-use maps to assess land use and topography. We conducted field vegetation surveys in land parcels with different development and management histories. Although 249 ha (4.6% of the total 2015 area) were developed using cut-fill methods, 5148 ha remain a traditional orchard surrounded by coppice forests. Vegetation surveys and a two-way indicator species analysis revealed that traditional orchards had more native species and a higher plant diversity index. Cut-fill orchards contained a higher proportion of alien species; however, the degree depended on parcel history and management. Overall, this area remains a dynamic mosaic landscape containing a core of long-standing Ume orchards. We suggest that biodiversity conservation in this area should focus on conservation measures such as indirect landuse regulations, including some acceptable landform transformations, to promote continued farming of this ecologically important area.