Masashi Soga's research while affiliated with The University of Tokyo and other places

Publications (87)

Article
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As growing urban populations have fewer chances to experience nature, i.e., ‘the extinction of experience’, the subsequent loss of emotional affinities for biodiversity (biophilia) pose major challenges to environmental conservation. Gardening, as an everyday nature interaction and window into invertebrate ecological functioning may offer opportuni...
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Concerning declines in insect populations have been reported from Europe and the United States, yet there are gaps in our knowledge of the drivers of insect trends and their distribution across the world. We report on our analysis of a spatially extensive, 14‐year study of ground‐dwelling beetles in four natural forest biomes spanning Japan's entir...
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Appropriate vegetation management in semi-natural grasslands can provide important habitats for grassland species. However, an increasing number of semi-natural grasslands are being abandoned worldwide due to changes in lifestyle and resource use, which has resulted in a drastic decline in grassland-dependent species. Ski pistes can function as imp...
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The human health benefits of direct sensory interactions with nature (hereafter direct human–nature interactions) are increasingly recognised. However, these interactions can also have various negative health and well‐being impacts on people, some of which may be severe. Compared to positive ones, there has been relatively little investigation of s...
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The ongoing global biodiversity crisis not only involves biological extinctions, but also the loss of experience and the gradual fading of cultural knowledge and collective memory of species. We refer to this phenomenon as 'societal extinction of species' and apply it to both extinct and extant taxa. We describe the underlying concepts as well as t...
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Public conservation support for a species can powerfully influence the success of conservation policies and actions. To maximize the effectiveness of the limited resources available for conservation, it would be beneficial to develop a way to predict the degree of public conservation orientation. Here, we explore the utility of the frequency of acc...
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The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is the world's most widespread member of the order Carnivora, occurring across a large range of latitudes and inhabiting multiple habitat types. There is no comprehensive study of how the diets of this flexible generalist vary across the whole Asian continent. We conducted a meta-analysis of red fox diets in Japan, exami...
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Interest in the direct interactions between individual people and nature has grown rapidly. This attention encompasses multiple academic disciplines and practical perspectives. A central challenge thus lies in creating a rich cross-disciplinary understanding of these interactions, rather than one that might become characterized by little conceptual...
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There is growing concern over the loss of grassland and forest species worldwide due to land use changes. In Japan, young forest plantations provide important habitats for grassland species. However, the decline in forest logging frequency has led to a decrease in the area of young plantations, which may in turn cause a decline in the number of gra...
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As society becomes increasingly urbanized, children are becoming much less likely to experience nature. This progressive disengagement from the natural world, often termed the ‘extinction of experience’, has been viewed both as a key public health issue and one of the most fundamental obstacles to halting global environmental degradation. School ed...
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Urbanization is increasing globally with wide‐ranging consequences for biodiversity and the ecological processes it performs. Yet knowledge of the range of ecological processes supported by biodiversity in urban environments, and the different taxa that perform these processes is poorly understood. We used a text‐analysis approach to identify the r...
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1. The stress-gradient hypothesis (SGH) provides a conceptual framework for explaining howenvironmental context determines the nature of biotic interactions. It may be also useful for predicting geographic variability in the effect of management interventions on biological invasions. We aimed to test hypotheses consistent with the SGH to explain co...
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1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence-based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
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Both the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem services are important and fundamental goals in response to the current biodiversity crisis. Cultural ecosystem services – the non-material benefits people derive from their interactions with nature – are an important component of ecosystem services. However, determining the con...
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Raising public awareness and support for endangered species is critical for global biodiversity conservation. However, we know little about which factors drive public interest in wildlife and how an increase in people's interest shapes their behaviours towards wildlife conservation. The animal debut of ex situ endangered species at zoos may raise g...
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Natural forests were increasingly replaced by plantations globally. While plantations support less biodiversity compared to natural forests, they can serve as an important habitat for forest-dependent species. Understanding the key drivers of the habitat function of plantations is necessary to reconcile both forestry and biodiversity. Planted tree...
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Full-text available
1. To be effective, the next generation of conservation practitioners and managers need to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of how to make evidence‐based decisions and of the value of evidence synthesis. 2. If, as educators, we do not make these priorities a core part of what we teach, we are failing to prepare our students to make an...
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While negative perceptions of insects and other terrestrial arthropods (hereafter referred to collectively as ‘insects’) are widespread around the world, the underlying causes of this phenomenon remain unknown. Negative attitudes towards insects manifest as the emotion disgust, which is regarded as a psychological adaptation to produce pathogen-avo...
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Abstract The coronavirus (COVID‐19) pandemic and the global response have dramatically changed people's lifestyles in much of the world. These major changes, as well as the associated changes in impacts on the environment, can alter the dynamics of the direct interactions between humans and nature (hereafter human–nature interactions) far beyond th...
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It is increasingly evident that the general public’s recognition of local flora and fauna is typically inaccurate, because the majority of species are not recognized by ordinary people. These incorrect perceptions are a concern because they could lead to decreased public motivation for conservation and reduced health and well-being benefits that pe...
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The COVID‐19 pandemic and its global response have resulted in unprecedented and rapid changes to most people’s day‐to‐day lives. To slow the spread of the virus, governments have implemented the practice of physical distancing (“social distancing”), which includes isolation within the home with limited time spent outdoors. During this extraordinar...
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Extinction of experience, the progressive loss of human–nature interactions, may prove to be one of the key environmental concepts of our times. Not only does this loss reduce the important benefits that people gain from these interactions, but it may also undermine their support for pro‐biodiversity policies and management actions, and thus play a...
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ContextFunctional responses to landscape heterogeneity are context-dependent, hampering the transferability of landscape-scale conservation initiatives. Japan provides a unique opportunity to test for regional modification of landscape effects due to its broad temperature gradient, coincident with a gradient of historical disturbance intensity.Obje...
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Paddy fields play an important role as alternative habitats for various wetland-dependent species. Agricultural intensification in paddy fields, however, presents serious threats to these species. Here, we examined the environmental factors, including those related to modern farming practices, affecting the distribution of the Sado wrinkled frog (G...
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The ‘extinction of experience’ – the loss of direct interactions between people and nature – has the potential to increase negative attitudes towards nature (‘biophobia’). Increased biophobia has implications for biodiversity conservation, because it may lead to a reduced motivation to protect wild animals and their habitats. If biophobia among tod...
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The direct interactions between people and nature are critically important in many ways, with growing attention particularly on their impacts on human health and wellbeing (both positive and negative), on people's attitudes and behaviour towards nature, and on the benefits and hazards to wildlife. A growing evidence base is accelerating the underst...
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Understanding the dynamics of public interest in invasive alien species (IAS) is important for the establishment of effective strategies to prevent their spread and mitigate the negative social impacts thereof. Our knowledge of this topic is still limited, however, largely because of the difficulty in collecting data regarding public interest in IA...
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Raising public interest in and conservation activity for threatened species is critically important for successful biodiversity conservation. However, our understanding of what influences the public interest in threatened animals and how the interest induces conservation activities is quite limited. Here, we examined the role of zoos and a televisi...
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As the world becomes more urbanised, people are becoming progressively disconnected from nature. This large-scale disengagement of humans from nature, or “extinction of experience,” is viewed both as a major public health issue and as a fundamental obstacle to halting the global biodiversity crisis. For most of humanity, urban greenspace is the pri...
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The capital of China, Beijing, has a history of more than 800 years of urbanization, representing a unique site for studies of urban ecology. Urbanization can severely impact butterfly communities, yet there have been no reports of the species richness and distribution of butterflies in urban parks in Beijing. Here, we conducted the first butterfly...
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There is concern about the increasing loss of people's direct interactions with fauna and flora. This extinction of experience has many potential far-reaching implications for both biodiversity and humans, including the decrease of public support for conservation issues and a reduction in the health benefits that humans experience when interacting...
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Overgrazing by large mammalian herbivores has led to significant adverse impacts on ecosystems globally. Insects are often a key taxon affected by large herbivores because the plants that are grazed provide crucial food and habitat. By changing vegetation, overgrazing by herbivores could affect aspects of insect morphology, including through change...
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In our increasingly urbanised world, children are becoming disconnected from the natural world. This progressive separation of humans from nature, “extinction of experience,” is viewed both as a major public health issue and as one of the fundamental obstacles to halting global biodiversity loss. Thus, it has become increasingly important to unders...
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The field of ecology has focused on understanding characteristics of natural systems in a manner as free as possible from biases of human observers. However, demand is growing for knowledge of human–nature interactions at the level of individual people. This is particularly driven by concerns around human health consequences due to changes in posit...
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People are becoming less likely to experience nature, as we become an increasingly urban society. This progressive disengagement of humans from the natural world, “extinction of experience”, has been viewed both as a key public health issue and one of the most fundamental obstacles to halting global environmental degradation. However, while the exi...
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With ongoing environmental degradation at local, regional, and global scales, people's accepted thresholds for environmental conditions are continually being lowered. In the absence of past information or experience with historical conditions, members of each new generation accept the situation in which they were raised as being normal. This psycho...
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Dramatic increases in populations of large mammalian herbivores have become a major ecological issue, particularly in the northern hemisphere, due to their substantial impacts on both animal and plant communities through processes such as grazing, browsing, and trampling. However, little is known about the consequences of these population explosion...
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With an ever-increasing urban population, promoting public health and well-being in towns and cities is a major challenge. Previous research has suggested that participating in allotment gardening delivers a wide range of health benefits. However, evidence from quantitative analyses is still scarce. Here, we quantify the effects, if any, of partici...
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Today's children have less direct contact with nature than ever before, resulting in an ?extinction of experience?. Research has suggested that such loss of daily interactions decreases people's appreciation of the natural world, but this remains quantitatively unexplored. We conducted a questionnaire survey of undergraduate university students in...
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There is increasing evidence that gardening provides substantial human health benefits. However, no formal statistical assessment has been conducted to test this assertion. Here, we present the results of a meta-analysis of research examining the effects of gardening, including horticultural therapy, on health. We performed a literature search to c...
Data
Histogram of standardized mean differences in the health outcomes between the control and treatment groups obtained via bootstrap resampling (10,000 resamples). A solid centerline and gray bars indicate the mean and 95% CI, respectively, and a horizontal blue line indicates those of the primary analysis (results without the use of bootstrap resampl...
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The overabundance of large herbivores is now recognized as a serious ecological problem. However, the resulting ecological consequences remain poorly understood. The ecological effects of an increase in sika deer, Cervusnippon Temminck (Cervidae), on three insect groups of beetles was investigated: ground beetles (Carabidae), carrion beetles (Silph...
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Research on endozoochorous seed dispersal is needed to further understand plant ecology and evolution. There are several methods for calculating the distribution of seed dispersal distances, although many studies use the “combination of gut retention time and movement data” (CGM) method to determine the potential seed dispersal distance distributio...
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Full-text available
Children are becoming less likely to have direct contact with nature. This ongoing loss of human interactions with nature, the extinction of experience, is viewed as one of the most fundamental obstacles to addressing global environmental challenges. However, the consequences for biodiversity conservation have been examined very little. Here, we co...
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Full-text available
There is increasing concern over the ecological impact of markedly increasing numbers of large herbivores (hereafter large herbivore overabundance) on forest ecosystems. To predict the ecological consequences of large herbivore overabundance, it is first necessary to understand how biological communities respond to large herbivore overabundance. He...
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Biodiversity conservation and restoration in cities is a global challenge for the 21st century. Unlike other common ecosystems, urban landscapes are predominantly covered by gray, artificial structures (e.g., buildings and roads), and remaining green spaces are scarce. Therefore, to conserve biodiversity in urban areas, understanding the potential...
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Increasingly, people are becoming less likely to have direct contact with nature (natural environments and their associated wildlife) in their everyday lives. Over 20 years ago, Robert M Pyle termed this ongoing alienation the “extinction of experience”, but the phenomenon has continued to receive surprisingly limited attention. Here, we present cu...
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We studied the responses of terrestrial mammal community to high levels of habitat fragmentation caused by forestry plantations in central Japan. Our aim was to understand how terrestrial mammals select remnant natural forest (broad-leaved forest) patches in a fragmented forestry plantation landscape. Camera traps monitored remnant 12 broad-leaved...
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Halting the ‘extinction of experience’, the progressive disengagement of people with the natural world, is vital to human health and wellbeing and to public support for global biological conservation. Home to the majority of humanity, urban areas are the key for engaging people with nature, raising the crucial question of how cities should best be...
Data
Pearson’s correlations for environmental variables (ground cover types, habitat age, district types, amount of solar radiation, and distance from continuous forest).
Article
The world's cities must grow to accommodate an increasing urban population, and achieving this with minimal impact on ecosystem structures and functions is a major challenge. At opposite ends of a possible development spectrum are "land sharing" - extensive sprawling urbanization where built land and natural space are interspersed - And "land spari...
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Conversion of terrestrial land for the purposes of agriculture and urban development continues to result in loss and fragmentation of natural habitats. In this study, we focus on butterflies and investigate the relative importance of landscape-level habitat amount (the proportion of woodland area within a landscape), habitat fragmentation (length o...
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We examined potentially contrasting conservation benefits of land sparing (land-use specialization) and land sharing (multiple-use forestry) strategies in forested landscapes by investigating relationships between bird functional group densities and basal areas of coniferous trees (an index of plantation intensity) in Sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinen...
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Degradation of floodplains continues with an increasing number of floodplain lakes disconnected from the fluvial dynamics of rivers. Limited understanding is available as to how historical geomorphic formation processes (i.e. geomorphic legacy) determine contemporary ecosystem structure and function. We tested the hypothesis that geomorphic legacy...
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1.As cities around the world rapidly expand, there is an urgent need to implement the best development form to minimise the negative impacts of urbanisation on native biodiversity. Two divergent forms for the expansion of cities are land-sharing and land-sparing developments. To date their relative benefits for biodiversity conservation are poorly...
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Using plant–herbivore–decomposer trophic chains as an example, we have tried to clarify the key roles of multitrophic interactions in species diversity. The interactions included two-link (herbivore–decomposer and decomposer–plant) and three-link (decomposer–herbivore–plant) chains within a community. Specifically, we investigated how sika deer abu...
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Urban nature is crucial for the quality of human life both within cities and beyond. In many developed cities, the numbers of restoration-through-revegetation projects have rapidly increased over the decades. However, the extent to which revegetated habitats perform compensatory roles for remnant habitats is poorly understood. We compared butterfly...
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Although both patch area and shape are key factors driving biodiversity in fragmented terrestrial landscapes, researchers have had limited and mixed success in documenting the effects of these two factors on aquatic ecosystems. Here we examined the effects of lake area and shape on macrophyte species richness in a lowland floodplain by considering...
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Surveying dung pellet groups to estimate population size requires knowledge of the dung decay rates in different environmental conditions. We evaluated seasonal and elevational differences in the decay rates of fresh deer pellets in the Ashio–Nikko Mountains, Japan. At each of four sites (1,500, 1,200, 900, and 600 m above sea level), we set out fo...