Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Japan has 67% of the land covered with forest. The length of natural coast is approximately 18,100km, with 51,500ha of tidal flats, 201,200ha of Moba (seaweed/seagrass beds) and about 34,700ha of coral reefs. These are especially important coastal ecosystems in the context of biodiversity conservation. At least 90,000 species inhabit Japan and its ocean areas. According to the Red List, as of 2006 2,740 species are highly threatened (around 30% of reptile and amphibian species, around 20% of mammal, brackish and freshwater fish, and vascular plant species, and around 10% of bird species). In accordance with “The Law for the conservation of endangered species of wild fauna and flora”, 73 species, including 4 mammals and 39 birds, are designated as "national endangered species of wild fauna and flora".
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
In accordance with the Natural Parks Law, as of December 2006, 28 National Parks, 55 Quasi-National Parks, and 309 Prefectural Natural Parks, covering 5.37million ha (14.2%) of Japan's total land, have been designated to protect areas of natural scenic beauty (as of December 2006). In accordance with the Nature Conservation Law, 5 Wilderness Areas, 10 Nature Conservation Areas and 536 Prefectural Nature Conservation Areas, covering 0.1million ha (0.3%) of Japan’s total land area, have been designated to preserve areas that have maintained their pristine characteristics and outstanding natural environment. In accordance with the Wildlife Protection and Proper Hunting Law, as of October 2006, 66 Wildlife Protection Areas have been designated by the national government, and as of March 2006, 3,846 by prefectures, for the protection and propagation of wildlife. Capturing wildlife is prohibited in these areas, which currently total about 3.68million ha. Pursuant to the Law for the conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as of October 2006, Japan has designated 9 Natural Habitat Conservation Areas totaling 885ha for designated, national endangered species to prevent the extinction of wild fauna and flora. 850 Protected Forests and 22 Green Corridors have been established and managed for contributing to biodiversity conservation. In accordance with the Living Aquatic Resources Protection Law, as of March 2006, Japan has designated 116 aquatic protected areas for conservation of aquatic animals and plants through the restriction of catch and reclamation.