Both the Horoka Tomamu Montane Forest and the surrounding National Forest are designated by the prefectural (Hokkaido) government as 'protected forest' (Hoanrin), specifically as 'protected headwater conservation forest', because the Horoka Tomamu River is one of the headwaters of the Mu River. However as indicated in the map above, much of the actual stream and its banks are in the village-owned area which is unprotected.
In 2010, we approached Shimukappu Village with a request to buy two pieces of land between Horoka Tomamu Montane Forest and the National Forest. This land is located on the banks of a stream on the southwest side of the conservation area (see the area with red arrows). Low-lying and wet, of no obvious commercial value, and limited in size (about 2.5 ha. in total), this is a section of unspoilt natural forest of exceptionable beauty with abundant wildlife, including red-listed species mammals (see Horoka Tomamu Forest Bat Survey 2012 etc.). As of 2012, we still hope it will be possible to include this land in the conservation area.
Protecting the land would facilitate a 'green corridor' from the conservation area to the National Forests, enabling the free movement of wildlife and preventing environmental isolation which would cause a reduction in wildlife numbers and diversity.
Policy on Green corridors has been written into the National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan: "The government will . . . promote . . . new green corridors to further secure the conservation of species and biodiversity". Large-scale green corridors between national parks are envisioned (e,g, the important corridor between the Daisetsuzan National and Hidaka-sanmyaku Erimo Quasi-National Parks), but also smaller corridors involving the National Forest and privately-owned woodland.
References: 生物多様性国家戦略 2010 (National Biodiversity Strategy of Japan,
4th version, 2010), part 2, chapter 1, section 2, 6.1, p 99 (Japanese only). The substantially similar Third National Biodiversity Strategy (2008) is published in English. Both are available online.
SCH/MMH 15 October 2012