Introduction

Sustainable use and management of ecosystems are essential to preserve carbon sinks and to further develop alternative energy sources instead of relying on fossil fuels. It is our hope that the realization of low carbon societies will forestall the acceleration of global warming. The ongoing degradation of ecosystems continues to be a serious global problem. The Wise Use of Biomass Resources (WUBR) research group of the Global Environmental Leaders (GELs) program in Hiroshima University is mainly engaged in education and research activities on biomass/ ecosystem resources for building a low carbon society (Nakagoshi 2011). As a result, the group published numerous scientific papers in the 5-year period (FY2008-2012) of the project. During this period, the first author contributed by editing two related textbooks entitled Landscape Ecological Applications in Man-Influenced Areas (Hong et al. 2008) and Landscape Ecology in Asian Cultures (Hong et al. 2011). This book is a textbook succeeding the previous two publica­tions. The major difference of this book compared with the previous two books is consideration for the realization of sustainable landscapes in natural and man-made environments. For this book to be excellent, we invited outstanding papers on designing low carbon societies presented during the 8th World Congress of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) in Beijing, 2011. In addition, two related papers were collected with those peer-reviewed from the 5th East Asian Federation of Ecological Societies (EAFES) International Congress in Otsu, 2012, and the 55th Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS) in Mokpo, 2012.