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The concept of green infrastructure is relevant to the maintenance of social capital and management of land use in a way that utilize nature’s functions and mechanisms. In Japan, a unique ecosystem has been constructed and maintained in farming villages through agricultural activities. Throughout the history of land development in Japan, social capital—which includes reservoirs, waterways, rice fields, residences, and carefully cultivated woodlands—has been accumulated, and social systems for maintaining it have been constructed. Therefore, agricultural resources and farming villages have functioned in a real sense as green infrastructure.
This paper considers land and other types of social capital in rural areas as rural green infrastructure and provides, with specific examples, an overview of ecosystem services that are received from rural green infrastructure. Additional examples of current issues involving rural green infrastructure, recent trends in agriculture and rural areas, and anticipated impacts of rural green infrastructure are also presented. Lastly, this paper shows a new direction for maintaining rural green infrastructure, which is necessary in a society with a shrinking population, and summarizes relevant issues to be addressed.