A peer-reviewed paper “The Minabe-Tanabe Ume System: Linkage of Landscape Units by Locals” by Prof. Yuji Hara at Wakayama University was published in “Sustainability 10(4)”.
Abstract:This paper focuses on the Minabe-Tanabe Ume system, which was designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in December of 2015. Because landholdings reflect historical social connections among various landscape units, we quantitatively examined the landscape characteristics of the system by preparing digitized spatial data and performing geographic information system analysis. We also examined the consensus building process among different stakeholders toward GIAHS recognition, as well as the emergent local spatial structure of the stakeholder network through interviews with key stakeholders and participatory monitoring. Our spatial analysis of the landscape generally supported the traditional knowledge of the area as a watershed-based mosaic of coppice forests on ridges, Ume orchards on sloped areas, and villages with rice paddies and dry fields in the plains. Our stakeholder network visualization identified several key persons as important nodes that could connect different types of land use now and may have done so in the past. Moreover, because our GIAHS site has compact agglomerations of watersheds with ranges within a ~30-min drive, most stakeholders, who turned out to have graduated from the same local school, are able to maximize their social capital to reorganize the remaining nodes among different land uses, thereby contributing to the formation of the land-use system and its further promotion through dynamic conservation measures.