Underuse/overuse and diversity of provisioning services and their change: the case of the Japanese national ecosystem service assessment (JBO2)

Takafumi Ohsawa, Takahiro Okano, Fumiko Nakao, Kei Kabaya, Satoshi Kofuku, Kokoro Kikuchi, Tohru Nakashizuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Japan Biodiversity Outlook 2 (JBO2) conducted an assessment of ecosystem services and how they have changed over the last 50 years in Japan using a combination of methods including literature review, calculation of indicators, and a questionnaire survey. According to this assessment, most provisioning services (i.e., natural resources) in Japan have been declining. In the current article, we made further analyses of the provisioning services assessed in JBO2 as well as providing a conceptual background and discussions, focusing particularly on the scope of “underuse” and “diversity” of provisioning services. To do so, we began by introducing these concepts with their multiple interpretations and assessment methods, some of which still entail technical difficulties and challenges. We then assessed simply underuse/overuse and diversity (species evenness and richness) of the services (e.g., crops), and evaluated the overall ecological footprint of Japan. As a result, multiple data indicated timber underuse, for instance, and such underuse (typically forest resources) and overuse (fishery resources) were supported by the JBO2 questionnaire results. Nationwide, species evenness has been declining in wood (timber) and special local vegetables, while species richness has been increasing in agricultural products. Overall, we conclude that while Japan is facing the issue of domestic underuse of forestry and agricultural products, it is utilizing a large amount of imported products, resulting in an impact on the global environment. The concept and scope of “underuse” and “diversity” will provide great opportunities for future assessments of similar services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-451
Number of pages13
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • Ecosystem service
  • JBO2
  • Overuse
  • Underuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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