Landscape Restoration

A case practice of Kushiro Mire, Hokkaido
  • F. Nakamura
  • Y.S. Ahn


Kushiro Mire, a marsh located near the mouth of the Kushiro River, is suffering from the cumulative effects of pollution caused by land-use development in the watershed. A high wash load is of particular concern and accounts for approximately 95% of the total suspended sediment load that flows into the marsh. Researches have found that turbid water floods the margins of the marsh; this is due to riverbed aggregation in a channelized stream reach that provides agricultural drainage. An analysis of Cs- 137 concentrations determined that the rate of fine sediment deposition was approximately three to eighttimes higher in the channelized reach than in a reach of the natural river. This rapid sediment deposition has lowered groundwater levels and enriched the nutrient content of the marsh soil. Consequently, woody species are rapidly invading the margins of the marsh, causing concern about a vegetation shift from reeddominated marsh to woodland. To address the physical and biological changes that are taking place in Kushiro Mire, various restoration projects have been planned and are being implemented under the Kushiro Mire Conservation Plan. Three examples of projects in the Kushiro Mire Conservation Plan are a restoration of the straightened river channel to meandering course, a forest restoration near Takkobu Lake, and a wetland restoration of a crane habitat. To develop pasture fields the natural meandering rivers in the Kushiro Mire have been channelized from the marginal areas of the marsh. The channelization projects lost pristine river-floodplain landscapes and inhibiting wildlife species. In the Kayanuma area, a river section extending about 2 km of Kushiro River is planned to restore from a straightened channel to a original meandering stream and floodplains. Monitoring and scientific evaluation will be conducted before and after the project and compared with downstream reference reaches. Fine sediments and nutrients have been accumulating in Takkobu Lake because of agricultural development and soil erosion in the uplands. The number of aquatic species in the lake has also been decreasing. An environmental assessment was undertaken in collaboration with "Trust Sarun", a non-profit organization, and sites were selected for conservation and restoration work. A larch forest was purchased to prevent it from being clear-cut and thus increasing sediment loading in the lake. The forest will be restored to its natural state. In addition, the Ministry of Environment in the Hirosato District acquired a wetland restoration site that was originally designated as an "ordinary area," i.e., the least regulated area of a national park. The restoration site is an abandoned agricultural field with an old drainage system developed in the 1960s; it is an important breeding habitat for red-crowed cranes (Grus japonesis). Based on a preliminary investigation, and under careful supervision to avoid disturbing the cranes, soil excavation and seeding experiments were undertaken and biogeochemical processes have been monitored.


Geographic Information System Restoration Project English Abstract Wetland Restoration Restoration Site 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Nakamura
    • 1
  • Y.S. Ahn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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