Co-authors: Aichi Prefecture and Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Biodiversity is being degraded by urban development, overpopulation, economic development, and unsustainable land use that exceeds domestic and international environmental capacity.
Against the backdrop of international discussions based on the Convention on Biological Diversity, cities need to take measures to protect biodiversity. However, biodiversity in urban areas has been fragmented due to the construction of gray infrastructure and changes in land use. Such discontinuities in biological habitats can lead to the extinction of wildlife species and ecosystem collapse.
The formation of ecological networks, in which organisms move between each other is therefore an effective means of conserving, regenerating, and creating the natural environment.
The basic concept for the zoning of an ecological network is to establish core areas with a natural environment and favorable natural conditions that should be preserved and where a diverse range of flora and fauna can live and grow, and to locate buffer areas to appropriately reduce human impact. These habitats and biomes need to be linked by ecological corridors to ensure biodiversity.
However, many urban areas are occupied by private sectors. It is not easy for local governments to ensure the sustainability of those private areas.
Therefore, we would like to introduce some of the good practices of Japanese local governments presented at CBD-COP15 and related meetings.
Case Study 1: Aichi Biodiversity Company Certification Program
Purpose of the program
In April 2022, the Aichi Biodiversity Company Certification Program was launched to certify companies with headquarters, business offices, or factories in Aichi Prefecture that have implemented excellent initiatives. This aims to encourage companies further to be engaged in biodiversity conservation and to further enhance conservation activities by leveraging the thriving industry, which is the strength of Aichi Prefecture.
Overview of evaluation items
- Organizational policies and systems:
Evaluation of the status of formulating policies/targets and action plans related to biodiversity conservation and fostering human resources through environmental education.
- Activities to protect the diverse ecosystem:
Evaluation of activities such as the conservation of rare species, the extermination of alien species, and environment-conscious management for a decarbonized and circulatory society.
- Connecting Habitats and Breeding Spaces:
Evaluation of green corridor formation (tree planting & biotope maintenance), collaboration with stakeholders, and reflection of expert opinions.
- Use Biological Resources:
Evaluation of technologies and manufacturing that reduce environmental impact in the supply chain or take advantage of biological functions.
- Expand Coexistence of Humans and Nature:
Evaluation of activities, including awareness-raising and participation in the initiatives such as the Ecosystem Network Council.
Encouraging companies to take further actions that contribute to biodiversity conservation by;
- offering rewards to companies that have been implementing excellent efforts to date and encouraging them to enhance their efforts further,
- suggesting replicability for other companies, not only in the prefecture but also nationwide and worldwide through their business activities, amplifying the wave of mainstreaming biodiversity, and
- serving as milestones for possible efforts of companies that have not yet started initiatives.
– Master certified 15 companies
– Certified 25 companies
Certification is in two categories, “Master certified” and “Certified,” depending on the status and degree of activities.
Case Study 2: Tokyo EDO-MIDORI Registered Green Spaces
Started in May 2017, this public-private partnership initiative aims to restore the city environment to one suitable for wildlife, including insects and birds, by ensuring the planting of native trees and plants that are naturally distributed in Tokyo.
More specifically, its purpose is to expand the planting of native species, which will contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in Tokyo and the formation of an ecological network and OECM (Other Effective area based Conservation Measures) by registering, providing a logo, and publicizing green spaces on the premises of private properties, where native species are planted positively, as EDO-MIDORI Registered Green Spaces.
The origin of the name comes from the former name of Tokyo, Edo, where people lived close to nature, loving flowers, plants, and wildlife, and enjoying the changing seasons.
Eligible green spaces are those on the premises of private buildings, such as office buildings and shopping centers, with a site of 1,000 square meters or more.
Requirements for registration as an “EDO-MIDORI Registered Green Space.”
Green areas with an area of 100 square meters or more planted with trees
Percentage of an area of native trees
- Tall trees: 40% or more
- Medium trees and shrubs: 10% or more
Number of species of native trees
- Tall trees: 4 or more
- Medium trees and shrubs: 3 or more
Green spaces that are particularly outstanding in terms of habitat and growth environment for wildlife are distinguished and registered as “Excellent Green Space.” The registration requirements include reducing using of chemical herbicides, insecticides, etc., and securing feeding and hiding places for insects, birds, etc.
13 private green spaces have been registered so far, which ensure planting and the environment suitable for wildlife in a creative manner and provide green spaces friendly to both wildlife and humans. However, it is sometimes difficult for green space managers to maintain the area with consideration for ecosystems and measure the degree of contribution to local biodiversity conservation, which has become an issue. There is also the issue of financing the cost of maintaining green spaces.
They hope to spread a value that creating and maintaining green spaces with consideration for wildlife is “粋(Iki)- a Japanese aesthetic sense which was born in the Edo period and means chic or refined and considerate- by providing technical support, such as the dispatch of experts to solve these issues, and raising public awareness of the program.
To conserve biodiversity in the future, we should create as much green space as possible to serve as an ecological network. Aichi Prefecture and Tokyo Metropolitan Government offer one solution: cooperation with the private sector. The private sector can create cultural value such as education, and amusement, through green spaces, and they have the opportunity to promote their CSR and SDG activities. It brings not only biodiversity but also cultural diversity. It can be a corridor that bridges business and biodiversity toward the next step in CBD-COP15.