Since the Forestry Bureau announced the first "Year of Domestic Timber" in 2017, a lot of resources and efforts have been put into the revitalization and promotion of the domestic timber industry every year. The development of the forest industry requires nationwide promotion, and due factors such as transportation and topography, the eastern part of Taiwan has not been able to develop the forest industry on a large scale like the western part of the country. For this reason, the region is often overlooked when raising the self-sufficiency rate of domestic timber. However, Hualien and Taitung have unique landscapes and cultural features. In recent years, the Forestry Bureau has been working with vocational schools, teachers, and community groups specialized in woodworking in Hualien and Taitung, making good use of existing resources and regional characteristics to create a micro-domestic timber and bamboo industrial chain. This has helped revitalize the development of local industries, allowing young people to stay in their hometowns, serve the community, and support the new forest industry.
Renewing and Reusing Abandoned Makino Bamboo Forests to Create a Circular Economy of Local Resources
For the development strategy of Hualien's domestic bamboo industry, the first step is to set a circular economy, which can assist in the renewal of bamboo forests. For many years, the decline of the bamboo industry has left the bamboo forests in the Luoshan area abandoned and unmanaged for a long time. These bamboo forests have been left to run wild and expand, affecting the local ecosystem and environmental landscape. In 2017, the Forestry Bureau began working with the Fuli Township Farmers' Association to assist in the revitalization and reuse of bamboo resources in the Luoshan area, starting with the renewal and harvesting of abandoned bamboo forests and gradually linking them to the diversified development and utilization of bamboo products at the back-end. In addition to setting up bamboo trails in the bamboo forests, the bamboo charcoal production process will apply the thermal equilibrium principle to heat up hot spring water to create a hot spring experience zone; in addition, a tour will be established to observe and experience the circular economy of the local bamboo industry, which will maximize its benefits. The goal is to make full use of the natural environmental resources of Luoshan and to drive the local economy, as well as the recycling and reuse of resources.
Yu Dong Carpenter: Linking Domestic Timber Local Production with Local Consumption
The Forestry Bureau's strategy for the development of the domestic timber micro-industry in Hualien is to cultivate woodworking talents. By strengthening human resources at the processing end, it can bridge the production with the consumption end of domestic timber, allowing the domestic timber produced locally in eastern Taiwan to be supplied to local consumers. Wang Chia-Na, a former teacher at Yudong Junior High School in Hualien, originally started a woodworking class with the intention of accompanying and enhancing the self-confidence of young people, but it has planted the seeds for the training of woodworkers and passing down of the legacy. In 2019, the Forestry Bureau began collaboration with Mr. Wang to carry out the "Wood Creation Yudong Technical Arts Education Promotion" project for the cultivation of professional talents in woodworking and furniture-making in Hualien through passing on and refinement of skills, in order to further develop the woodworking industry in Taiwan. They also engaged in the diversified development, design, and manufacture of products made of domestic timber to enhance the value and market visibility of domestic timber and to link up Hualien's domestic timber micro-industrial chain.
Building a Stage for the Marketing of Domestic Timber and Bamboo through Site Planning
Fu Cha Tang was formerly the old Fuli Workstation under the Hualien Forest District Office of the Forestry Bureau. The site was given a new life in 2021 through the cooperation between the Forestry Bureau and the Fuli Township Farmers' Association. There are four buildings in the area. The former workstation office has been transformed into a restaurant area and exhibition center, selling domestic timber products, agricultural and forestry specialties, and snacks. The other three buildings are used as permanent exhibition rooms: the old fire prevention warehouse displays traditional forestry equipment, such as two-man saws, trunk saws, and forestry locomotives, preserving the strong historical atmosphere of forestry; the former workstation director's dormitory displays the Satoyama Initiative and illustrations of Satoyama animals; the former archive office showcases Taiwan's trees and essential oil extractions from domestic timber. Thanks to the marketing efforts of the Fuli Township Farmers' Association in Hualien County, Fu Cha Tang has created a new tourist attraction and promoted tourism development for Fuli by organizing themed small farmers' markets, concerts, and DIY activities. It has also become an important base for Hualien's timber and bamboo micro-industry.
Domestic timber and bamboo are not only used for cultural and creative products or furniture, but also for the Dayu Bookstore, which demonstrates the Forestry Bureau's applications of domestic timber and bamboo industries in architecture. In 2021, the Forestry Bureau cooperated with National Chung Hsing University to harvest and process raw bamboo on site in Dayu Village, Yuli Township, using innovative designs to build a new type of educational space made of bamboo and wood to serve as a school or classroom. Through the "Building for Training" program, bamboo construction observation and technical trainings are held to allow mountain tribal community residents, bamboo farmers, and bamboo processing operators to further understand the various possibilities and high added values that can be created by domestic timber and bamboo.
Promoting the Domestic Timber and Bamboo Micro-Industry to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions
The Forestry Bureau pointed out that in the future, in addition to continuing to strengthen the local production, processing, and sales chain of domestic timber and bamboo through local cooperation and policy guidance, the development of various additional benefits of the forest, such as under-forest economy and forest therapy, will also be planned. All of these will further diversify Hualien's domestic timber and bamboo micro-industry. It is hoped that the results of Hualien's domestic timber and bamboo micro-industries can serve as a model for micro-industries in mountain villages, so that each community can try to inventory and plan their own local specialty micro-industries, as well as implement the Satoyama economy and local consumption for locally-produced products, ultimately achieving net zero carbon emissions and a circular economy.