What is World Heritage?
World Heritage is an irreplaceable asset of mankind as a whole and is a treasure to be handed over to future generations.
There are two kinds of World Heritage: Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage, and to be included on the World Heritage List as a natural site, one or more of the four criteria must be met: topography and geology, ecosystem, natural landscape, and biodiversity.
The Ogasawara Islands meet the criterion of ecosystem and were designated as a Natural World Heritage site in June 2011.
Criteria for Selection
|Natural Landscape||To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance|
|To be an outstanding example representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features|
|Ecosystem||To be an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and communities of plants and animals|
|Biodiversity||To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation|
In Japan, other than the Ogasawara Islands, Shiretoko, Shirakami-Sanchi, Yakushima, and Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Islands have been inscribed on the Natural World Heritage List.