Revision of Rebun forms of life strategy from new SDGs perspective

The popular Momoiwa Observatory Course. Climate change threatens to impact the ecology of alpine plants, which have many fans. Photographed last June

The town of Rebun, a remote island in northern Hokkaido, has formulated the ‘Rebun Island Ikimono Tsunagari Project’ (forms of life connection project), a 10-year regional biodiversity strategy starting from FY2022. The strategy is based on a revised version of a previous one, which included the creation of the ‘Rebun Island Red Data Book,’ which is a compilation of information on the extinction risk of rare alpine plants on the island. The new strategy incorporates the perspective of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new strategy clearly states that Rebun’s future image is that of “an island blessed with delicacies of the sea, where alpine plants bloom, and where people can experience a connection among forms of life.”

With regard to the effects of climate change, the strategy points out that alpine plants are decreasing due to the proliferation of bamboo grass, and that rising seawater temperatures are reducing the areas of sea in which kelp grows, and thus the loss of waters in which fish and shellfish such as sea urchins, which feed on the kelp, are nurtured. From the perspective of the SDGs, which call to “protect the abundance of the sea,” the project sets forth four basic policies, including the conservation and reproduction of the activities of forms of life, and the utilization of such blessings.
The creation and utilization of the Red Data Book involves a survey of the latest growing areas and populations of several hundred plant species throughout the town, including the Rishiri-Rebun-Sarobetsu National Park, as well as the ranking of flowers and other plants that are in danger of extinction. In addition to strengthening conservation at the town’s alpine botanical garden, the information will be presented to business operators prior to development work, to help preserve the target plants.
The continuation of a project to protect and propagate the island’s endemic species of ‘Rebun large-flowered cypripedium’ (Cypripedoum macranthos) and the removal of non-native plants are also included in the items to be implemented.
According to a Rebun Town Industry Division spokesperson, “The abundance of nature is a valuable asset. We hope that residents, businesses and visitors to the island will work together to protect it and pass it on to the next generation.”


Momoiwa Observatory