Throughout the 80s and 90s, the satoyama conservation movement was carried out in Japan. As of 2001, there are more than 500 environmental associations that are dedicated for the conservation of satoyama. Because of their efforts, satoyama has become more predominant in Japanese landscapes.

The Satoyama Initiative was founded at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in 2009 as a worldwide effort to realize "societies in harmony with nature" via the acknowledgement and promotion of satoyama sceneries across the globe as a good replica for preservation of human well-being and biodiversity. In 2010, the Satoyama Initiative was acknowledged in Decision X/32 of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP) as "a potentially valuable device to better fathom and support human-influenced natural environments for the advantage of biodiversity and human well-being" and "consistent and in harmony with the Convention". The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative was also instigated at the same CBD COP meeting and taken note of in the Decision as " one mechanism to carry out events recognized by the Satoyama Initiative including gathering and analyzing case-studies, distilling lessons, and promoting research on varied practices of maintainable utilization of biological resources, as well as intensifying awareness and supporting on-the-ground projects and activities in human-influenced natural environments".

In popular culture

The satoyama of Saitama Prefecture have been illustrated in anime with great exactness and artistic attentiveness to detail in the very famous film, My Neighbor Totoro, by Studio Ghibli, under the control of the studio's head and founder, Hayao Miyazaki. The importance of the satoyama as environment for the story has stimulated popular attraction in the localities.

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Causalities of the disappearance

Satoyama have been vanishing because of the drastic change in natural resources from firewood and charcoal to oil and the drift from compost to chemical manure. Also, the challenge of aging in Japanese community can lead to the vanishing of satoyama because there is small number of people who can labor in satoyama which are thought of as intermediate disturbance on forests, for example, cutting down trees for timber and charcoal, harvesting shrubs for firewood and gathering litter as compost. These human effects can aid the success of the forest occur. As the eventual causality of the vanishing of satoyama, pine dominated secondary forests in satoyama were gradually demolished as pine wilt disease devastated pine forests in the 1970s.


Satoyama, using a plant layer, from bottom, agriculture area, Prunus mume tree for umeboshi, bamboo woods and thicket in Chiba Japan.

Mnay habitat forms for wildlife have been proffered by intermixed satoyama scenery as a result of the Japanese conventional agricultural method that also allows the motion of wildlife between a multiplicity of habitats. The immigration of wild animals can occur between rice paddies, ponds, forests, grasslands, and too from one village to another. Reservoirs, streams and ponds in specific play a considerable role in the existence of water reliant species such as fireflies and dragonflies. In the initial stages of their life cycle, they expend most of their time in water. Deciduous oaks like Quercus serrata and Quercus acutissima are planted by cultivators to sustain deciduous broad-leaf trees. Progression to dark and dense laurel forest is avoided by farmers that cut down these trees for charcoal and firewood every 15 to 20 years. Various plant and animal species are capable of living in these deciduous forests due to conventional management practices.

Population, ownership, and land use

Population diminish in communities has been a substantial driving factor in the vanishing of satoyama from the Japanese scenery. Economic development from 1955 to 1975 produced considerable economic and social gaps between villages and cities and led to the clearance of mountain villages, where life was made hard by natural conditions such as landslides, snowfall and steep slopes. Ownership designs have also been a factor. Communal ownership of satoyama forests close to villages has been popular since the commencing of the 19th century. These forests were registered for the construction of houses and economic considerations. Since forests close to villages have been cut down, old-growth forests today are frequently situated far from villages. Villagers use wood from conifer plantations and their private forests for firewood. By the 1960s, satoyama were used as rice fields, grasslands, secondary forests for fuel, thatch fields, giant bamboo forests, plowed fields and shifting cultivation.