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A Qualitative Exploratory Analysis of Ecological Integrity for Safeguarding World Natural Heritage Sites: Case Study of Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan

by 1,*,† and 2,†
1
Center for Tourism Research, Wakayama University, 930 Sakaedani, Wakayama 640-8510, Japan
2
Fish Owl Institute (FILIN), Sapporo, Hokkaido 063-0842, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
The authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
This article reports the findings of an exploratory study on the complexity and challenges of managing UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites (WNHS). Despite their protected status, the majority of the WNHS currently face severe anthropogenic stress. While several studies have analyzed this scenario with spatial analysis and review of global trends, this research provides a qualitative analysis of ongoing fragmentation and impact in a specific site by employing the Ecological Integrity (EI) concept to the Shiretoko Peninsula WNHS in Japan. Insights from key scientific literature are synthesized with those from research and monitoring of the Blakiston’s Fish Owl (a keystone species). Findings indicate that ecosystems of Shiretoko WNHS have not sufficiently recovered from the intensive anthropogenic disruption in the 20th century and in some cases face novel stressors from tourism development after the inscription. Besides, ongoing construction of roads and facilities affects fine-scale heterogeneity in the surrounding landscape. The findings highlight the urgent need of protecting lower trophic level species, stream and forest restoration, and restricting infrastructure development. This implies that WNHS managers must implement measures to meaningfully offset anthropogenic stress on EI, and WNHS management should be integrated with the management of its surrounding landscapes. View Full-Text
Keywords: World Natural Heritage Site; Ecological Integrity; anthropogenic stress; fragmentation; Blakiston’s Fish Owl; Shiretoko Peninsula World Natural Heritage Site; Ecological Integrity; anthropogenic stress; fragmentation; Blakiston’s Fish Owl; Shiretoko Peninsula
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chakraborty, A.; Takenaka, T. A Qualitative Exploratory Analysis of Ecological Integrity for Safeguarding World Natural Heritage Sites: Case Study of Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan. Heritage 2019, 2, 898-919. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage2010060

AMA Style

Chakraborty A, Takenaka T. A Qualitative Exploratory Analysis of Ecological Integrity for Safeguarding World Natural Heritage Sites: Case Study of Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan. Heritage. 2019; 2(1):898-919. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage2010060

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chakraborty, Abhik, and Takeshi Takenaka. 2019. "A Qualitative Exploratory Analysis of Ecological Integrity for Safeguarding World Natural Heritage Sites: Case Study of Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan" Heritage 2, no. 1: 898-919. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage2010060

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