Japan - Flora and fauna



Hokkaido flora is characterized by montane conifers (fir, spruce, and larch) at high elevations and mixed northern hardwoods (oak, maple, linden, birch, ash, elm, and walnut) at lower altitudes. The ground flora includes plants common to Eurasia and North America. Honshu supports a panoply of temperate flora. Common conifers are cypress, umbrella pine, hemlock, yew, and white pine. On the lowlands, there are live oak and camphor trees and a great mixture of bamboo with the hardwoods. Black pine and red pine form the typical growth on the sandy lowlands and coastal areas. Shikoku and Kyushu are noted for their evergreen vegetation. Sugarcane and citrus fruits are found throughout the limited lowland areas, with broadleaf trees in the lower elevations and a mixture of evergreen and deciduous trees higher up. Throughout these islands are luxuriant growths of bamboo.

About 140 species of fauna have been identified. The only indigenous primate is the Japanese macaque, a small monkey found in the north. There are 32 carnivores, including the brown bear, ermine, mink, raccoon dog, fox, wolf, walrus, and seal. There are 250 breeding bird species and 8 species of reptiles. Japan's waters abound with crabs and shrimp; great migrations of fish are brought in by the Japan and Kuril currents. There are large numbers and varieties of insects. The Japanese beetle is not very destructive in its homeland because of its many natural enemies.

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