One-stop Service for Satoyama Conservation ~Chiba Satoyama Center~


After 1965, abandoned Satoyama (farming landscape near the hills and mountains in Japan) increased due to lifestyle changes, mechanization of agriculture, an increase in the number of people engaged in agriculture and forestry, aging, etc. Therefore, Chiba Prefecture established ;Ordnance to Conserve Satoyama and Promote the Use of Satoyama (Chiba Prefecture Satoyama Ordinance) When giving effect to this ordinance, Chiba Prefecture developed Chiba Prefecture Satoyama Basic Plan. In cooperation with “NPO Chiba Satoyama Center” and local governments, Chiba Prefecture is implementing various measures. NPO Chiba Satoyama Center is an organization established chiefly by Satoyama activity organizations. This time around, featuring Chiba Satoyama Center, we introduce collaboration to conserve Satoyama. Various people and organizations such as land owners, prefecture’s residents, companies and local governments are engaged in it.


Ms. Doumoto keen about environment conservation became the governor of Chiba Prefecture in 2001. Chiba Prefecture took measures such as Satoyama ordinance and biodiversity conservation as a forerunner. (Chiba Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture were the nation’s second to establish such ordinances as local governments: 【FYR】Situation of formulating regional biodiversity strategy (Ministry of the Environment) .

As the background, “Satoyama” used to be the original scenery of Boso deeply connected to people’s lives from ancient times. After 1965, also in Chiba Prefecture, urban development accelerated mainly around metropolitan area. Agricultural lands and forests were turned into lands for industrial use. As a result, Satoyama greatly decreased. Energy changed from fuel wood to fossil fuel. The connection of human and Satoyama became weaker. As a result, Satoyama left uncontrolled and became devastated. Also illegal disposal of waste occurred.

To bring an end to this situation, Satoyama ordinance was established in 2003. Satoyama conservation had been up to only land owners for long time, however, the ordinance intends to give each resident of the prefecture roles. Satoyama ordinance defines each stakeholder’s roles as follows:

The roles of residents of the prefecture.

・Let’s try to be interested in activities to conserve Satoyama and promote the use of Satoyama, and get more understanding of Satoyama. Let’s try to cooperate with these activities.

・Let’s try to cooperate with measures taken by the prefecture.

The roles of land owners, etc.

・Let’s try to conserve Satoyama and promote the use of Satoyama.

The roles of Satoyama activity organizations

・Let’s try to conduct activities to get more understanding of Satoyama, to conserve Satoyama and promote the use of Satoyama actively.

・Let’s try to cooperate with the measures related to Satoyama taken by the prefecture.

Responsibilities, etc. of the prefecture

・Develop “Satoyama Basic Plan” and take measures to conserve Satoyama and promote the use of Satoyama comprehensively and systematically.

・In cooperation with local governments, take necessary measures to promote activities related to Satoyama conservation conducted by residents of the prefecture, Satoyama activity organizations, land owners, etc.

・Cooperate with measures related to Satoyama taken by local governments according to local circumstances.

・Consult widely with residents of the prefecture about the measures over the Internet.

・Give consideration to Satoyama conservation when implementing public-works projects.

・Enhance public relations’ activities and provide learning opportunities to residents of the prefecture, and take other necessary measures.

・Conduct survey research about Satoyama conservation and ways to utilize Satoyama.

・Take necessary financial measures to promote measures.

Under these proper sharing of roles, every resident of the prefecture is expected to being a part of this. The purpose of the ordinance is to create a new relationship between human and Satoyama and succeed rich Satoyama to the next generation by promoting the use of Satoyama as sites for leisure and education.

Operational Methods

In collaboration with Chiba Prefecture Forest Division, Chiba Satoyama Center takes various approaches as a hub for “Satoyama One-stop Service” to embody the Satoyama ordinance concept.

Satoyama Information Bank

Since forest owners produced firewood and forests were financially valuable, forests used to be well-organized. Due to the declining use of firewood, forests lost their financial value. Therefore, forest owners stopped taking care of forests and Satoyama became devastated. There is a need, “We’d like to make the mountains beautiful like before, though it is impossible for us to take care of Satoyama only by ourselves.

On the other hand, ordinary citizens have opinions like, “We’d like to conduct Satoyama activities, but we can’t find a field.” Therefore, Chiba Satoyama Center established Satoyama Information Bank system to match “land owners who want someone to make use of their Satoyama” with “people who want to conduct Satoyama activities.”

Satoyama Supportship Program

There are many companies which conduct regional contribution activities as CSR activities. In consideration of these needs, Chiba Satoyama Center does coordination to make companies easier to participate in Satoyama activities. When receiving inquiries about activity sites from companies, it coordinates with organizations whose locations meet the needs, enters into a three-way agreement and supports to make the activity move forward smoothly.

Chiba Satoyama College

Chiba Satoyama Center conducts “Chiba Satoyama College” for inexperienced people interested in Satoyama conservation in order to train actors. So far 115 people have participated in it and 70% or more have engaged in Satoyama activities in each area. There are no age restrictions and no qualification or certification is required to participate in it. Participants attend a course consisting of 8 seminars and learn basic skills of Satoyama conservation activities and safe working methods. At first, there was only “Volunteer Training Course.” “Next Generation Leader Training Course” was added in 2014 and it is training the young.

Implementation Status


Chiba Satoyama Center’s activities started in 2003. Through one-stop service related to Satoyama, fostering of “Satoyama people”, operation support for organizations etc., it has been conducting various activities to deepen and perpetuate understanding of Satoyama. The figure on the right draws the activities of 10 years up to 2014.

  1. The trends in the number of regular members: In the third year, exceeded 50. Currently, it has increased to about 100.
  2. The trends in the number of Satoyama Agreement made (cumulative total): a total of 124
  3. The trends in the number of consultations about Satoyama: After becoming an NPO, it increased rapidly, it is more than 200 per year.
  4. The trends in the number of website visits: 10 thousand or so per year, constant visits have been maintained.

As the overall activities, as comprehensive one-stop service of Satoyama, the activities have been maintained quite well. It plays the role as a prefectural-level intermediary organization.

An activity case of “Satoyama Supportship Program”

As part of company’s employee training, with the purpose to engage in natural environment conservation, 10 employees participate in the program and local conservation organization accepts them. They are contributing to Satoyama conservation by sawing grass and bush and carrying them out. As a company, it can contribute to the local community and raise employees’ awareness of environment. As a local organization, in conducting conservation works, the participants will be dependable helpers. Therefore, there are merits for both sides.


There are various departments engaged in Satoyama conservation according to geographical characteristics of local governments. For example, greens near urban areas are treated as parks, departments related to urban development (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is to the country) take charge of them.

In terms of biodiversity conservation, environmental departments (Ministry of the Environment is to the country) take charge of them. In terms of conservation of creatures designated as natural treasures such as cranes, boards of education (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is to the country) take charge of them. When it is mainly focused on paddy fields and fields, agricultural departments (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is to the country) take charge of them. According to what measures they take, departments in charge differ in local governments. In the case of Chiba Satoyama Center, a forestry department takes charge of them and takes measures in the sense of promoting forest industry.

As devastation of Satoyama moves ahead throughout the country, projects with the participation of residents of a prefecture in cooperation with local organizations like this are not so common. Call it forest industry promotion or maintenance and promotion of biodiversity, there is a great need for organizations to coordinate citizens to participate in these events. When local governments promote Satoyama conservation directly, there will be a great need for local governments to support intermediary organizations like this case. It is expected that similar projects to spread to other regions.


Project cooperation/project accord


Biodiversity/ nature conservation

Social business

People involved (Actor and Partners)

・Chiba Satoyama Center

・Chiba Prefecture Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department Forest Division Forest Policy Office

Reference Material

・Ordnance to Conserve Satoyama and Promote the Use of Satoyama (Chiba Prefecture Satoyama Ordinance)

・Chiba Prefecture Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department Forest Division Forest Policy Office  Satoyama Activity Agreement Certification

・Satochi-Satoyama’s current situation and issues – Ministry of the Environment

・What to think about before entering Satoyama - Incorporated Administrative Agency Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute

Reported by Hirotaka Ito (KANTO Environmental Partnership Office)
February, 2016