English：The illegal tree felling at the Nakaikemi wetland: one of the latest Ramsar sites in Japan.Members of a local wetland conservation NGO found tree felling within the newly designated Ramsar site in western Japan. Since the area was designated as a quasi-National Park prior to the Ramsar designation in July 2012 and no applications were submitted to the Park authorities, it was revealed that such tree felling was an illegal act.
At the time of Ramsar designation of the Nakaikemi Wetland area prior to the Ramsar COP11 in Romania in July 2012, it was already in danger. The new development plan of an express railway, which will pass through the Ramsar site, was approved in late June.
The Shinkansen – bullet trains - railway lines connect major cities across Japan. The Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT) is responsible for the development of Shinkansen lines. A new Shinkansen line planned by the JRTT is going to pass over a part of Nakaikemi Wetland in Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture. According to JRTT spokesmen, they have no plan to change the course of the newly-approved Shinkansen line. Several national conservation NGOs have expressed their concerns on possible negative effects by construction works and the route itself.
Although the tree felling was found in line with the planned Shinkansen line, it is so far unknown who is responsible for the tree cutting.
The new line is to be completed by the year 2025, according to the plan, and a railway and a tunnel will be made at the eastern hillside of Nakaikemi Wetland.
Nakaikemi Wetland is located 2 kilometer from the Tsuruga Railway Station. Approximately 3,000 species of fauna and flora were recorded from the area. 87 ha, including the hillside as an important catchment area for the wetland, was designated as a Ramsar site on 3rd July 2012. However, the planned Shinkansen Line will pass over the hillside.
A Tunnel for the new Shinkansen Line may affect underground water system for Nakaikemi Wetland.
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