Biodiversity / Food / Water

March 16, 2004


Elementary Schools Participate in Biotope Monitoring Systems

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity Education Manufacturing industry NGO / Citizen 

With cooperation from NEC Corporation, in October 2003 the non-profit Asaza Fund launched a system to monitor living organisms around biotopes, or mini-ecosystem zones, set up on elementary school grounds. To help better understand the ecosystem, sensors that monitor the natural habitat are placed every 500 meters. Schools in the catchment area of Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture (Japan) started to use the new monitoring system in November.

Traditional monitoring systems by experts and governments often fail to completely reflect the state of the natural environment, because they either cover areas of limited size or are just one-off studies that cover wide areas. This project, however, ensures that monitoring activities will cover a wide-area on a continuous basis, thanks to the participation of the local residents, mainly elementary school students.

Over 110 elementary schools in the lake's catchment area have created biotopes under the Asaza Fund's guidance. Research utilizing the biotopes is being implemented as part of integrated studies of the school curriculum with the participation of the local community. The new monitoring system makes it possible to learn about the ecosystem of the entire lake basin, using information technologies such as the Internet.

Organizers have plans to expand the network of environmental monitoring systems from the Kanto area to eventually cover the whole country, and later East Asia, to help gain a better understanding of wildlife habitats and migratory paths.

Posted: 2004/03/16 09:06:32 AM
Japanese version