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World Heritage

The World Heritage sites are inscribed on the “World Heritage List” based on an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972. These sites are considered to be of such outstanding value that they should be shared by human beings beyond nations and ethnic groups for future generations.
The World Heritage list has three categories: Natural Heritage, Cultural Heritage and Mixed Heritage. “Amami and Ryukyu” is now working towards designation as a World Natural Heritage Site.

Criteria for World Natural Heritage Inscription

To be included on the World Natural Heritage list, sites must meet at least one out of the following four selection criteria, and an appropriate protection management system must be implemented.

Natural landscape The site must contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance
Geography and geology The site must be an outstanding example representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms.
Ecosystem The site must be an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of living creatures and communities of plants and animals.
Biodiversity The site must contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity including those containing threatened species.

World Natural Heritage Sites in Japan

Yakushima inscribed in 1993 【Selection criteria】natural landscape, ecosystem
Shirakami-sanchi inscribed in 1993 【Selection criteria】ecosystem
Shiretoko inscribed in 2005 【Selection criteria】natural landscape, ecosystem
Ogasawara Islands inscribed in 2011 【Selection criteria】ecosystem
Amami and Ryukyu inscribed in 20XX 【Selection criteria】natural landscape, ecosystem

Nomination processes for insctiption on the World Natural Heritage List

  1. The Ryukyu and Amami islands were together selected as a candidate for World Natural Heritage Site in the “Review Meeting on World Natural Heritage” by the national government in 2003.
  2. “Amami and Ryukyu” was selected as the official candidate for the World Natural Heritage Site.
  3. Currently
  4. Designation as a Japanese National Park
  5. Submission of nomination paper to the UNESCO World Heritage Center
  6. On-site survey by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
  7. Examination by the World Heritage Committee
  8. Inscription on the World Natural Heritage List

National Park

National parks are beautiful vistas with designated superb natural spectacles representing Japan.
The national park in Amami area aims to be an unprecedented national park with the combination of “ecosystem management type national park,” which manages the overall ecosystem centering on subtropical broad-leaved forests, and “environmental and cultural type national park,” which represents the deep relationship and harmony between human beings and nature. Currently, efforts are being made towards the early designation as a national park.

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