Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 89–106 | Cite as

Simulation of natural capital and ecosystem services in a watershed in Northern Japan focusing on the future underuse of nature: by linking forest landscape model and social scenarios

  • Chihiro HagaEmail author
  • Takahiro Inoue
  • Wataru Hotta
  • Rei Shibata
  • Shizuka Hashimoto
  • Hiroko Kurokawa
  • Takashi Machimura
  • Takanori MatsuiEmail author
  • Junko Morimoto
  • Hideaki Shibata
Special Feature: Original Article Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Future Scenarios for Socio-Ecological Production Landscape and Seascape


A quantitative scenario approach to compare the future state of natural capital and ecosystem services (ESs) plays a key role in facilitating decision-making for the sustainable management of landscapes. In Japan, the shrinking and aging population will likely lead to a situation of underuse of natural resources, resulting in rewilding of terrestrial ecosystems. This study conducted a quantitative scenario analysis of natural capital and ESs by linking model and social scenarios on a local scale. The case study area was the Bekanbeushi River Watershed in Northern Japan. LANDIS-II model (a forest landscape model) was used to simulate the vegetation dynamics in species composition, age structure, and biomass considering impacts of forest and pasture land management. Four “population distribution” and “capital preference” scenarios were translated into forest and pasture land management. The population distribution and capital preference assumptions resulted in different consequences for natural capital and ESs. The population distribution affected the spatial allocation of abandoned pasture land and level of isolation of managed pasture land. The capital preference assumptions largely affected the consequences for ESs. Finally, these simulation results demonstrated the capacity to feed quantitative information to the narrative scenarios. Our process-based approach provides insight into the relationships among social drivers, ecological processes, and the consequences that will affect natural capital and ESs, which can contribute to decision-making and sustainability design of regions, which may face issues associated with underuse in the future.


LANDIS-II model Terrestrial ecosystem Depopulation Forestry practice Farmland abandonment 



This research was funded by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-15 ‘‘Predicting and Assessing Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services’’ (PANCES), Ministry of the Environment, Japan), Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI, 17H01516 ‘‘Adaptation to the Climate Change on Boreal Forest-Ecosystem Management for the Conservation of Ecosystem Resilience’’, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, from FY2017 to FY2020), and Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Research Fellow (18J20266) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

Supplementary material

11625_2018_623_MOESM1_ESM.docx (272 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 271 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringOsaka UniversitySuitaJapan
  2. 2.Field Science Center for Northern BiosphereHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Department of Forest VegetationForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTsukubaJapan
  7. 7.Graduate School of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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