For a long period of time, the Forestry Bureau and its private sector partners have promoted Satoyama biodiversity restoration such as by providing guidance for the restoration of paddy fields at Tianliaoyang in Gongliao, Lianghu at Jinshan, and Shitiping in Fengbin, Hualien, and the Bureau has also developed the Green Conservation Mark with Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation. Using the concept of green conservation, farmers are allowed to raise the conservation value of their products and create classic cases of protecting biodiversity and sustainable development. Both the Bureau and Tse-Xin have won the affirmation of the Executive Committee of The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI). In November this year, the Bureau’s application for membership was accepted, making it the first Taiwan government agency to be admitted to IPSI for the Satoyama Initiative policy. In the future, the Bureau will be able to take part in various IPSI activities and share cases and exchange related experiences with over 200 members from across the world.
Echoing the international trend, the Forestry Bureau establishes TPSI
With reference to the Satoyama Initiative and its partnership operating framework, in cooperation with Prof. Lee Kuang-chong of National Dong Hwa University, the Bureau has established the Taiwan Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (TPSI) through an integrated plan. Related government departments, academic and research institutions, community and private groups and other practical workers, and green enterprises were invited to take part in Taiwan Satoyama Initative related work, and an overall strategic framework for future promotion of the Taiwan Satoyama Initiative was formulated. This effort was recognized by IPSI and the application by the Bureau to become a member was accepted at the 11th Satoyama Imitative Committee Meeting in Tokyo in November. Apart from Japan, only Taiwan plans the establishment of a domestic partnership. Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation was also admitted to IPSI on the strength of the success of the Green Conservation Mark promoted in cooperation with the Bureau, also gaining international affirmation.
Upon hearing the news, Council of Agriculture Minister Tsao Chi-hung praised the efforts of the Bureau and Tse-Xin and said “Developing friendly agricultural production and strengthening ecological linkage and Satoyama sustainable use are urgent matters. The Bureau is instructed to build a local discourse and practical experience model for the Taiwan Satoyama Initiative and promote green happy living based on the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.”
Green conservation, attaching importance to biodiversity and friendly production
To conserve the protected species living in farmland ecosystem, Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation and the Bureau jointly developed the Green Conservation Mark. Participants in the Green Conservation Mark scheme do not use pesticides or herbicides or chemical fertilizers, using organic fertilizers instead, and they must restore the habitat of protected species that live in their fields.
Tse-Xin CEO Su Muh-rong said to give farmers stable livelihoods and protect the ecosystems on their land, the Foundation targeted communities with species that need protection and carried out environmental education and agro-food education involving local residents and schools, also teaching people about the characteristics of local culture and environment, the aim being, through education, to build a local community-wide consensus conducive to the sustainable use, biodiversity and long-term development of the area. Taking the Pheasant-tailed Jacana as an example, they mainly live in the Guantian area. Farmers spread rice husks mixed with pesticides when they switch to other corps during land diversion to prevent bird damage to crops but, unfortunately, caused the death of jacana when they accidentally ate the husks. After this incident, Tse-Xin and the Bureau decided to develop the Green Conservation Mark. Local farmers were given guidance and the local community educated to build a farmland ecosystem that is jacana-friendly, creating a win-win situation for conservation and agricultural production. Also, the Foundation has provided guidance to villages in national parks and the upper reaches of reservoir catchment areas to allow farmers to change to organic farming or green conservation so that land use can meet the requirements of park or reservoir catchment area conservation policy. For example, in the tea-growing area of Pinglin on the upper reaches of the Feicui Reservoir catchment area, organic farming methods have improved the local farming environment. Working with the green conservation-certified farmers on the upper reaches of the reservoir catchment area, a green conservation plan has also restored the population of the endemic Emerald tree frog.
The International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI)
IPSI members include national and local governments, related government agencies, NGO and civil groups, indigenous and local community organizations, academic, educational, and research institutions, enterprises and private organizations, and the UN and other international organizations. The Secretariat is the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, responsible for promoting Satoyama Initiative related work. As of November, 2016, IPSI had 202 members from across the world, of different levels and from various departments. Members must assist with the promotion of the Satoyama Initiative’s vision and aims and actively take part in IPSI meetings, including Internet meetings, to achieve the ideal of harmony between society and nature, using sustainable methods to manage land and natural resources to realize the vision of protecting biodiversity and using resources sustainably. In the future, the Bureau will, through the Taiwan Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (TPSI), strengthen cooperation between the government and private sector partners, take part in the IPSI annual assemblies, learning from others and sharing Taiwan’s achievements. International conferences or workshops will be held and scholars and experts from international organizations will be invited to Taiwan to share their professional knowledge. Mutual learning and discussions between practical workers, researchers and policymakers will be promoted to increase their ability to protect and utilize society-ecology-production landscapes.