|Top > National survey on the natural environment > Animal Distribution Survey (All-species Survey)|
*The distribution map -- the 2nd grid
| This survey was conducted for the purpose of identifying the habitat status of wild animals in Japan. The survey primarily focused on identifying the distribution of mammals, birds, amphibians & reptiles, freshwater fish and insects.
Wildlife-related nature conservation measures implemented preferentially at the time included the protection of endangered species, and measures for species requiring proper protection and management due to their close interaction with people. Wild animals targeted in the 2nd survey were limited to species urgently requiring proper management techniques, and species deemed to be endangered or scientifically important, excluding birds.
The 3rd survey was conducted with the aim of screening species that should be subject to the aforementioned measures, and providing basic objective data to study measures to be implemented in the future. The ultimate objective of the survey was to identify the current distribution of all native animal species on a nationwide scale and the changes in their distribution over time. This radically expanded the scope of surveys on wild animals, and triggered the launch of a system for continually collecting and accumulating basic data on wild animals in Japan.
The 5th survey followed the steps of the 3rd and 4th surveys, in collecting and accumulating basic data.
For birds, the 2nd and 5th surveys yielded a certain amount of data on the distribution of breeding grounds in summer, and the 3rd survey did the same for data on the distribution of wintering spots. The 4th survey was conducted for the purpose of identifying the size, distribution and environmental conditions of breeding and roosting colonies of certain target species.
The 6th survey shifted to a biodiversity survey and was renamed "Species Diversity Survey." The survey is being conducted focusing especially on medium- and large-sized mammals.
|<The 3rd Survey>
The 3rd survey targeted all or some species and subspecies belonging to the following taxonomic groups which have a prominent position within the ecosystem and meet certain requirements, such as being subject to a wealth of biological knowledge, in addition to the possibility of developing a survey framework.
The survey was executed by 2,225 research specialists nominated by societies and other institutions, including, for birds, 1,619 members of the Wild Bird Society of Japan (Nihon Yacho-no Kai).
Development of the survey framework began in 1983, and the survey was conducted in 1984 with respect to all taxonomic groups. (Additional data in the subsequent years has been supplemented in the compilation stage.) Further, past records and information on specimens, etc. were actively collected.
Exclusively for birds, field surveys were conducted simultaneously from December 1984 to January 1985.
Prior to the survey, the Checklist for the Fauna Distribution Survey was prepared, featuring a catalog of species names for each taxonomic group, for the purpose of standardizing the names of species in the survey and sorting existing knowledge. The distribution was recorded on the basis of a standard area grid system (also referred to as "the 3rd grid", measuring approx. 1km x 1km each).
<The 4th Survey (Excluding Birds)>
The 4th survey was conducted basically in the same manner as the 3rd survey for all taxonomic groups, excluding birds, which were subject to changes.
The survey spanned from 1989 to 1990. The survey framework was revised and reorganized, including asking wildlife protection specialists and the Japan Hunters' Association (Dainippon Ryoyu Kai) to cooperate in the mammal survey. In 1991, information was collected from survey staff led by specialists, and then the data was aggregated on a provisional basis and supplementary surveys were conducted accordingly. (The survey involved 2,521 survey staff members and targeted 2,456 species (number of codes of target species)).
<The 4th Survey (birds)>
The survey targeted species which breed and roost in colonies and live in an environment diminished by economic development, etc. A questionnaire survey was conducted with the cooperation of members of the Wild Bird Society of Japan, on the status of the distribution of breeding and roosting colonies, followed by a field survey targeting large colonies and roosting communities aimed at determining the population and the environmental conditions in detail. (The survey involved 171 survey staff members and 864 questionnaire respondents, and targeted 22 species).
<The 5th Survey >
From 1993 onwards, the task of collecting distribution information was commissioned to 47 prefectures, and flora was added to the list of survey targets.
In 1994, the survey shifted to a biodiversity survey and was renamed "Species Diversity Survey." The following two surveys were conducted.
The survey task was commissioned to 47 prefectures. Distribution information was collected from literature, specimens and field surveys.
The survey was conducted in the same manner as in the 3rd survey. Experts were directly asked by the Ministry of the Environment to collect distribution information. Information compiled up until the 4th survey was supplemented.
A field survey which involves the collection of data through actual outdoor surveys (as in the 2nd survey) and a questionnaire survey which involves the compilation of data personally owned by survey staff and bird researchers were adopted.
(1) Field Survey
In principle, the same routes were adopted as in the 1978 survey. In cases where it was difficult or dangerous to follow the same route due to road closures, etc., full or partial alterations to the survey routes were allowed, as compliant as possible to the units and selection criteria of survey zones in the 2nd survey. New survey routes were established according to the same selection criteria.
(2) Questionnaire Survey
From among observation records kept by individuals, etc., the survey targeted records of breeding possibility during the survey period from January 1997 to December 1998 for which the 3rd grid could be specified.
<The 6th Survey >
(Medium- and Large-sized Mammals Survey)
A questionnaire survey and an interview survey were commissioned to prefectures based on a three-year plan from 2000, to identify the general distribution of medium- and large-sized mammals (monkeys, deer, bears, etc.) on a nationwide scale.
(Bird Habitat Distribution Survey)
The survey is conducted on the basis of the same techniques and at the same survey locations as in the 2nd National Survey on the Natural Environment conducted in 1980.
For mammals, most regions across the country were scrutinized and a detailed distribution map was prepared. Survey findings in each prefecture were shown in a topographical map on a scale of 1:50,000 divided into 16 equal sections (Multiple-5 Area Grid, approx. 5km x 5km grid), to indicate the distribution of each species nationwide.
For birds, a distribution map showing the breeding grounds was prepared with respect to 205 species from among 257 species targeted in the survey.
For amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish, nationwide distribution maps were prepared with respect to each species targeted in the survey, and the positioning of each species was determined by research specialists from biogeographic and taxonomic standpoints, or in light of conservation.
For insects, a total of 1,764 target species were selected by prefectures as specified insects, and a survey was conducted accordingly. For 10 indicator insect species selected by the Environment Ministry, nationwide distribution maps were produced, and the positioning of species based on the distribution and habitat status were studied by research specialists. Further, environmental diagnosis was attempted in each prefecture, based on the environmental indicators of indicator species.
Reports on distribution information totaled approximately 420,000 with respect to 2,067 species, from among a total of 2,646 species in the major animal groups in Japan targeted in the survey. Distribution maps were drawn for the reported species.
As the survey was based on a new survey method and framework, it revealed the distribution patterns, distribution limits (northern & southern limits, etc.) and new habitats, but caution should be exercised when using the results because for some species, the distribution information is missing in some areas, due to the lack of time and manpower.
<4th Survey (Except birds)>
Reports totaled 630,000 with respect to 2,253 species, from among a total of 2,456 target species, including distribution information derived from the 3rd survey. Distribution maps were drawn for the reported species. About 60% of the distribution maps were deemed to be indicative of the distribution patterns.
<4th Survey (birds)>
Reports on distribution information totaled 2,336 with respect to 22 native bird species which have a habit of creating breeding and roosting colonies. A map of breeding colonies and a map of roosting colonies were drawn for each species.
<The 5th Survey(Excluding Birds) >
(1) Field Survey
Cumulative data on survey results from 1994 to 1999 were shown. The data consisted of 2.1 million records in total. Literature surveys, specimen surveys and field surveys accounted for 73%, 17% and 10%, respectively. As for data count by taxonomic group, flora tended to attract a lot of literature data.
By taxonomic group, in the fauna category, survey data count was the largest for birds (376,000 records), followed by butterflies (158,000 records). In the flora category, there were 746,000 records for dicotyledonous plants.
(2) Questionnaire Survey
There were reports on 2,686 species from among 2,957 species targeted in the survey. The number of reports totaled approximately 1.08 million, combined with the distribution information derived from the 3rd and 4th surveys. Distribution maps were drawn for the reported species. About 63% of the distribution maps were deemed to be indicative of the distribution patterns.
The volume of information was much greater than in the previous survey, and new knowledge and information were gained in regard to distribution. However, the distribution status could not be accurately determined for quite a few species, due to the limited number of experts, regional bias, limited survey time and other constraints. The Study Group for the National Survey on the Natural Environment (Subcommittee) evaluated the volume of information acquired with respect to each distribution map and added comments for reference for future surveys.
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*) The organization was changed to the Ministry of Environment in 2000.