The effectiveness of delineating ecoregions in the Kyushu region of Japan to establish environmental indicators

Rei Itsukushima, Yukihiro Shimatani, Yôichi Kawaguchi

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Throughout Japan, numerous restoration projects and efforts to conserve the river environment are underway. However, in spite of such efforts, effective measures to conserve the river ecosystem or post-evaluation of restoration projects remain insufficient due to a lack of environmental indicators. In many European countries and the United States, a number of biological indicators have been developed and adapted. However, it appears to be difficult to directly apply these indicators to Japan, because its biota is finely classified according to its many islands and peninsulas. The ultimate goal of this study is to comprehensively evaluate indicators of aquatic biodiversity from both physical and biological aspects. We divided the Kyushu region in Japan into several ecoregions as a preliminary step to establish an indicator. We delineated the ecoregions of the Kyushu region using the fish fauna data of 21 rivers within the Kyushu region. Presence-absence (0/1) data for each fish species were used to run a two-way indicator species analysis (TWINSPAN analysis). As a result, the Kyushu region was divided into four ecoregions (A: northwest Kyushu, B1: northeast Kyushu, B2: south Kyushu, and C: Amami-Oshima Island). Each ecoregion was characterized by the following fish species: (A) Cyprinidae, in particular Acheilognathinae, is abundant; (B1) Gobiidae is abundant, while Cyprinidae such as Tanakia limbata (not confirmed in B2) are also present; (B2) Gobiidae is abundant, while Rhingobius sp. DA and Rhingobius sp. CO (not confirmed in B1) are present. These results indicate that the fish fauna of the Kyushu region is finely delineated, and that an assessment standard for biological integrity should be established, based on differences in fish fauna.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-46
Number of pages20
JournalLandscape and Ecological Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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