Satoyama (里山) is a Japanese term applied to the border zone or area between mountain foothills and arable flat land. Literally, sato (里) means village, and yama (山) means hill or mountain. Satoyama have been developed through centuries of small scale agricultural and forestry use.
The concept of satoyama has several definitions. The first definition is the management of forests through local agricultural communities, using coppicing. During the Edo era, young and fallen leaves were gathered from community forests to use as fertilizer in wet rice paddy fields. Villagers also used wood for construction, cooking and heating. More recently, satoyama has been defined not only as mixed community forests, but also as entire landscapes that are used for agriculture. According to this definition, satoyama contains a mosaic of mixed forests, rice paddy fields, dry rice fields, grasslands, streams, ponds, and reservoirs for irrigation. Farmers use the grasslands to feed horses and cattle. Streams, ponds, and reservoirs play an important role in adjusting water levels of paddy fields and farming fish as a food source.