This past summer, I was fortunate to travel to Japan with the Mt. Fuji program. During this program, we researched Japan’s “satoyama” or countryside – a place where the ecosystems depend on human interference to survive.An example of this is the Nashigahara grassland on the northern flank of Mt. Fuji. This grassland is the site of many species of endangered plants and butterflies. These species need annual burning to survive and thrive. We researched the symbiosis between the dirt, grass, and butterflies on the north side of Mt Fuji.
We split into three groups (soil, plants and butterflies) to survey these grasslands. I was in the plant group. In this group, we set up 10 x 10 meter plots in each grassland and observed plant coverage in each plot. Coverage includes grass, ferns, shrubs, and trees. If we found endangered species, we noted the name and how many were found. All of this information was cataloged in a fulcrum survey.