Mar./2007
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Integrative Research on Innovative Exploitation and Conservation of Ecosystems/CRDS-FY2006-SP-17
Executive Summary

The ecosystem and organisms that compose it have significant social values as genetic resources, resources for foods, drugs and industrial materials, environmental control mechanism, and so on. However, the reality is that the values are not sufficiently recognized and used, and there is a risk that their potentials may be lost because of the rapid deterioration as a result of the so-called act of development.

One of the causes is that the concepts of the people who study ecosystem for conservation and the people who promote the use of ecosystem crash and the cooperation between the two do not move forward, because many of the studies on ecosystems aim at conservation itself, while promoters of the use of ecosystems see the conservation of ecosystems not as the foundation of use but as “barriers” of development. Originally, knowledge, science and technology required for conservation and use of ecosystems are common in many aspects. Therefore, it is effective to carry out research and development by linking both.

This proposal perceives that advanced use of ecosystems and its expansion are indispensable for social development in the future and proposes to efficiently promote coordination of the research and development of the two to ensure the use of ecosystems as well as conservation, regeneration and reinforcement of the ecosystems that become the foundation for the use of ecosystems based on scientific knowledge and economic principles. We propose the following four areas in which the research and development should be urgently promoted.

1. Research and development on food, drug and industrial materials using the ecosystem and organisms composing it and the production technology
Search for new available organisms and ecosystems, their usage technologies, low-environmental-load/high-efficient production technology of useful substances using the organisms/ecosystems

2. Elucidation of factors for deterioration of ecosystem services responsible for environmental control and adjustment functions, assessment of the effects and research and development of technologies for conservation, regeneration and reinforcement of the ecosystems
High-precision assessment and prediction technology for the effects of environmental pollution and climate change on the ecosystems and ecosystem services (benefits of ecosystems for humans), high-precision assessment and prediction technology for the effects of changes in the ecosystem and biodiversity on climate/meteorological phenomena and hydrologic cycle, technologies for conservation, regeneration and reinforcement of the ecosystems

3. Investigation/assessment of values of ecosystem services and research and development on adaptive integrated management technology
Assessment technology of quantitative values of medium- and long-term ecosystem services, research and development on management and operation technologies that enable maximum use of potential capacity of supply of ecosystem services

4. Research and development on ecoomics – understanding of mechanism of ecosystem functions
Exhaustive analysis of interaction of various organisms that compose the ecosystems and interaction between organisms and physical environment, and understanding of ecosystem functions that support the ecosystem itself and mechanism to maintain ecosystem services brought by those functions