NIPPONIA No.24 March 15, 2003
Special Feature*
Forests at World Heritage Sites
Some wooded areas of Japan have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Two World Natural Heritage Sites are the ancient beech forest in the Shirakami Mountains, and the forests of Yakushima, where ecosystem types range from subtropical to cold temperate. Elsewhere in Japan, temples, shrines and old villages have been named World Cultural Heritage Sites, and almost all of them have a close association with forests. These pages present forests in Japan that have been honored as the heritage of Planet Earth.
Written by Sakata Shuji
Photos by Ishibashi Mutsumi
Other photo credits: JTB Photo; Sekai Bunka Photo

Kagoshima Prefecture
The island of Yakushima is only 503 square kilometers in area, but the ecosystem is varied because the climate ranges from subtropical to cold temperate. Yaku-sugi cedar trees grow at altitudes between 1,000 and 1,500 meters, and more than 2,000 of them are at least a thousand years old. One tree, called the Jomon sugi (center of photo), is estimated to be 7,200 years old. It has become a symbol of the island. Yakushima was included in the list of World Natural Heritage Sites in 1993.


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