Tohoku University’s Ecosystem Adaptability GCOE, research and educational program focuses on the robustness and stability of ecosystem functions and services in the face of natural and human perturbations. Ecosystem adaptability refers to both the resilience of a system’s biological components (in a broad sense) and its capacity for adaptive evolution (evolvability). Recent anthropogenic impacts are rapidly degrading many ecosystem services through regime shift, thereby exacerbating unstable social conditions in many developing countries. Ecosystem adaptability is a pivotal concept not only for ecology and technology, but also for the social sciences, as we increasingly seek ways to achieve sustainable human development while maintaining stable ecosystem services. We have coined the term Ecosystem Adaptability Science to describe an interdisciplinary field that includes ecology, agriculture, fisheries and wildlife, forestry, epidemiology, engineering, and the social sciences. We are sponsoring a series of international fora to establish this new research field.

We held a third forum, which focuses specifically on the social aspects of ecosystem adaptability. Development and land management activities that consider ecosystem health and function can help conserve biodiversity, which in turn buffers critical ecosystem services from unexpected disturbance, providing more stable conditions for development. Economic, social, and political frameworks that consider ecosystem adaptability are therefore necessary to enhance the adaptability of human societies to perturbation. The forum was organized around the following five sessions:

  • Environmental economics perspectives
  • Forest economics perspectives
  • Human dimension perspectives
  • Landscape architecture
  • Agriculture and ocean managerial perspectives



Conference Venue [ACCESS]

Sendai International Center (Tachibana Conference Hall)

The venue of this forum is located in Sendai, Japan, which has been greatly damaged by a large earthquake. You may be concerned about radiation level in Sendai because of atomic-power accident in Fukushima. Radiation level in Sendai (0.07-0.08 µSV/hr) is much lower than average radiation level in USA (0.41 µSV/hr). Electric power company in Tokyo is pursuing a schedule to manage the damage of the Fukushima nuclear power plants and to sharply reduce radiation levels in the vicinity of the power plants by early 2012. Although coastal areas in Sendai were severely damaged by the tsunami, the central area of Sendai is almost intact. Thanks to warm cooperation of the U.S. forces, Sendai Airport was reopened. Other transport facilities, such as railways and expressways, and utilities of gas, electricity, and water were also quickly restored. Thus, Sendai is now a safe place for everybody to visit.


Attendees: 131 people

Organizing committee

  • Tohru Nakashizuka (Distinguished Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Masakado Kawata (Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Atsushi Yoshimoto (Professor, Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Japan)
  • Shunsuke Managi (Associate Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Masashi Konoshima (Associate Professor, Ryukyu University, Japan)
  • Sachiko Kikuchi (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Takashi Makino (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Yasuyoshi Kanari (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Seiji Ishida (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)

Forum secretariat

  • Seiji Ishida (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Takashi Makino (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Yasuyoshi Kanari (Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, Japan)

GCOE Office Staff

  • Nobuo Ohtsuki (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Yoko Akasaka (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Megumi Chiba (Tohoku University, Japan)
  • Yuko Takeda (Tohoku University, Japan)