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Core Areas: Mountain landscapes of 3,000 m peaks, virgin natural environments, home to valuable plants and animals

The Minami Alps form a massive mountain landscape with many peaks over 3,000 m high. The topography and geology formed from upthrusts of the seabed is a valuable legacy of the birth of the Japanese archipelago. In addition, a diverse biota has formed from the bountiful rainfall and complex weather conditions. The Minami Alps are not only a treasure-house of alpine plants such as the Callianthemum honodense, but are also the world’s southernmost home for the Dwarf Stone Pine and the Rock Ptarmigan, which has been designated as a Special Natural Monument.

Rare Animals

The Minami Alps are home to species that have evolved as endemic or quasi-endemic, with the exception of birds that can fly well. This shows the process by which animals that have crossed over when Japan was connected to the continent have become specialized at the species level in the geological history of Japan becoming an isolated archipelago. The Minami Alps are also the global southern limit for species such the Rock Ptarmigan.