Media Coverage

BBC Travel Features UNU-IAS Expert Comments on Satoyama Landscapes

On 20 May 2023, BBC Travel published an article featuring UNU-IAS expert's comments on the concept of satoyama.

On 20 May 2023, BBC Travel published an article on the Miyama region in Japan, which is an example of satoyama — places where human settlements (sato) meet the mountains (yama) to form ecosystems where people and nature live in harmony. Highlighting traditional local practices such as thatching, the article explores the rural community’s “culture of self-sufficiency” in which agriculture and forestry still provide the livelihoods of many residents.

UNU-IAS expert Maiko Nishi (Research Fellow) provided comments on the concept of satoyama and the role of sustainable tourism in revitalising such landscapes.


“This term [satoyama] is used to describe landscapes that comprise a mosaic of different ecosystem types including secondary forests, agricultural lands, irrigation ponds and grasslands, along with human settlements,” explained Maiko Nishi, a research fellow at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability in Tokyo. “The core notion of a satoyama is of societies in harmony with nature.” […] Nishi, the research fellow, confirmed that satoyama’s decline is widespread throughout Japan, a nation with one of the world’s oldest populations. In this context, “sustainable tourism is one of the major strategies to revitalise these landscapes”, she said – and one that is being embraced by the government.

The full article is available on the BBC Travel website.

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