Landscape and Ecological Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 177–184 | Cite as

Urban heat island effects on moss gardens in Kyoto, Japan

  • Yoshitaka OishiEmail author
Special Feature: Original Paper Ecological Resilience of Ecosystems with Human Impact―Restoration of Plants and Animals


Urban heat islands (UHIs) represent a serious problem for urban biodiversity and landscapes. The impact of UHIs on Japanese gardens are of particular concern because these gardens use moss as a ground cover, and moss can be strongly affected by UHIs due to their sensitivity to drought stress. We studied 17 historical gardens in Kyoto, Japan, and propose an effective management strategy for moss gardens that takes into account the influence of UHIs on these gardens. The study sites included gardens covered by large patches of hygrophilous moss, gardens covered by mosses including small patches of hygrophilous moss, gardens covered by relatively drought-resistant moss, and gardens with small patches of mosses. We measured temperature and relative humidity within the gardens and determined the surrounding land-use types. A comparison of microclimates showed significant differences among garden types. Hygrophilous gardens had the lowest temperature and highest relative humidity, whereas gardens with small patches of moss had the highest temperature and lowest relative humidity. Using structural equation models, we determined that urbanization within 1000 m from the gardens increased temperature and decreased relative humidity, strongly affecting the type of garden. These effects could be attributed to the sensitivity of mosses to changes in microclimate caused by UHIs. Taken together, the results indicate that urban planning—e.g., increasing green space—within 1000 m of moss gardens can maintain those gardens by mitigating the influence of UHIs.


Biodiversity Bryophyte Land use Microclimate Urbanization Urban planning 



We are grateful to all the people in temples and shrines and the NHK Broadcasting Corporation who cooperated in this study. This study was funded by the CFAAS Research Project Budget from Fukui Prefectural University.

Supplementary material

11355_2018_356_MOESM1_ESM.docx (42 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 42 kb)
11355_2018_356_MOESM2_ESM.docx (41 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 41 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Arts and SciencesFukui Prefectural UniversityFukuiJapan

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