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Study Regions

In the JAGUAR Project we focus on four regions with different climatic, biogeographic and socio-economic conditions to test scientific approaches to quantifying biodiversity and ecosystem services. Two of these regions are located in Germany: the Vogelsberg and the adjacent Wetterau in the Federal State of Hesse that cover much of the two counties which bear the same names (Figure 1). The two other areas are located in Japan: the catchment area of the Shubuto River in the town of Kuromatsunai in southern Hokkaido and the Mikatagoko lake system in Fukui Prefecture on the island of Honshu (Figure 2).

In these four areas, much relevant information concerning biodiversity and ecosystem services has been gathered in previous research projects, and good working relationships have been established with important institutions and organizations.



Projektregionen Hessen

Figure 1: Location of the study regions in Germany. The counties of Vogelsberg and Wetterau in the Federal State of Hesse have contrasting environmental conditions and differ in their socio-economic characteristics.



Pojektregionen Japan

Figure 2: Location of the study regions in Japan. The focal sites in the Town of Kuromatsunai in southwestern Hokkaido are located in the catchment area of Shubuto River. In the region of Mikatagoko in Fukui Prefecture in western Honshu, five lakes and their surroundings are at the centre of the studies.


The parallel research activities in Japan and Germany offer new insights both in the context of fundamental scientific questions and for the transfer of results of applied research into practice. From a scientific viewpoint it is essential that the drivers of current land use change are similar, and that the observed changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services accordingly are also due to the same driving forces. These driving forces include demographic change as well as macroeconomic influences on agriculture and forestry. There are also common biogeographical aspects with some groups of animals and plants occurring in both countries, allowing comparisons of their ecological role in Germany and Japan. At the same time, there are distinct differences in societal organization and land management practices in both countries. This combination of similarities and differences in environmental and socioeconomic aspects creates an ideal situation for the development of generic methods and generalized tools that are required by decision-makers from local to international levels in order to evaluate the possible complex effects of land use decisions. Such methods and tools are also a prerequisite for the success of the new ‘Global Biodiversity Council’ IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) that will be coordinated by a secretariat based in Bonn, Germany.

Japan and Germany have excellent research institutions with a high degree of collaboration across disciplines. In both countries extensive databases with information for the development of land use scenarios, for the quantification of biodiversity and ecosystem functions and for the valuation of ecosystem services exist. Developing this potential in order to use it more effectively is an important task for the JAGUAR Project.