Implement the Satoyama Initiative to promote sustainable development within the Saisiyat tribe community
Lead organization: Miaoli County Saisiyat Indigenous People Forestry and Worker Limited Liability Cooperative
Other participating organizations: Forestry and Nature Consevation Agency (FANCA), Ministry of Agriculture; Taiwan Indigenous Ecological Agriculture Association; Nanzhuang Township Office, Miaoli County; Penglai Elementary School, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County
The Saisiyat Tribe in Taiwan originates from the 3,492-meter-high Mount Dabajian and Xiaobajian, adhering through generations to ancestral precepts, honoring commitments, and dedicating ourselves to the harmonious coexistence with nature, protecting the mountains and forests.
My grandfather said: “Humans are inherently a part of nature. When you enter the mountains, you must recognize yourself as a part of it. The diverse systems in nature are not limited to what appears to be moving; everything observed possesses life. Whether it’s humans, animals, plants, water, soil, or any other living entity, all depend on each other for symbiosis, mutual respect, and assistance. We respect the environment, respect life, abide by the laws of nature, and avoid taking more than what is necessary.”
After 1946, the Saisiyat Tribe transitioned from a vast living environment to a life constrained and defined by policies. The shift from self-sufficient living to a society based on monetary transactions occurred rapidly, and traditional practices gave way to modern national education. Over the past 70 years, the Saisiyat people have embraced the lifestyle of modern society. However, inadvertently, they have gradually distanced themselves from the inherent principles of mutual dependence and coexistence with nature. This has resulted in the degradation of landscapes and ecosystems, numerous tribal issues, and hindering the smooth transmission of Saisiyat cultural heritage.
In 2018, the Saisiyat Tribe entered into a partnership with the Forestry Bureau(which was renamed as Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, MOA, since 1st August 2023), both committed to the Satoyama Initiative. Striving towards a vision of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, the Miaoli County Saisiyat Indigenous People Forestry and Worker Limited Liability Cooperative, referred to as the Saisiyat Cooperative, was established. In 2019, the Cooperative initiated a mountain and forest patrol team , tasked with inventorying local natural resources and conducting ecological monitoring. The team also documented local cultural and historical resources, aiming to safeguard mountain and forest resources and deter illicit activities such as theft of forest resources.
The Saisiyat Cooperative has also ventured into under-forest economies, utilizing beekeeping as a tool for ecological monitoring. They actively engage in circular economy practices, promoting resource recycling capabilities. Waste branches are repurposed for therapeutic plantings and extract essential oils. After shredding the waste materials, they are transformed into biomass pellets. Once used, these materials return to the earth, enriching the soil and initiating a renewed ecological cycle. Furthermore, they have undertaken habitat restoration efforts for the critically endangered Nansho Daidai Sour Orange (Citrus taiwanica), listed in the IUCN Red List, with more than 1,500 plants now thriving in their original habitat.
Over the past five years, the Saisiyat Cooperative has steadfastly upheld the core values of Satoyama, focusing on preserving landscapes and ecological diversity. Through ecological journeys, they have actively advocated and promoted the Satoyama Initiative, garnering widespread popularity. The tribe has become a sought-after destination for community exchanges and visits, hosting numerous government agencies, academic institutions such as National Taiwan University and National Chengchi University, environmental organizations, and more than 200 tribes and communities.
This achievement reflects the realization of a harmonious coexistence between people and nature, truly enjoying the shared ecological system’s diverse service values. This initiative has not only revitalized tribal economies, improved the livelihoods of community members, and revitalized cultural practices with the return of young people, but it has also played a crucial role in preserving mountains and forests and ensuring ecological sustainability.”
After years of steadfast commitment to the objectives and goals of the Satoyama Initiative, the Saisiyat Cooperative achieved a significant milestone on February 6, 2023. On this date, the Saisiyat Tribe Cooperative officially became an international partner of the Satoyama Initiative.
The Saisiyat Tribe Cooperative has introduced, for the first time, the case study activity titled ‘Implementing the Satoyama Initiative to Promote Sustainable Development Within the Saisiyat Tribe Community.’
The Satoyama Initiative is at the core of the collaborative project, with a focus on revitalizing the Saisiyat tribe’s mountain wisdom and tribal development. The primary objectives include ensuring the sustainable utilization of biodiversity, perpetually sharing the diverse value of natural assets and ecosystems, fostering stable supply and development, and realizing a vision of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. Subsequently, the cases of Satoyama practices undertaken by the Saisiyat Cooperative in Taiwan will be disseminated to government agencies, academic institutions, environmental organizations, tribes, and communities across Taiwan, forming partnerships to collectively promote the Satoyama Initiative. The project is structured around three strategic goals to create a society that harmoniously coexists with the local landscape, engages in effective management, sustains, revitalizes, restores, and ensures the perpetual coexistence of ecology, life, and production.
The strategic goals are as follows:
- The first goal, ‘ Preserve and Sustain the Diverse Ecosystem Service Values,’ involves safeguarding ecosystems and ensuring environmental sustainability as a crucial response to climate change. Achieving carbon neutrality and striving towards net-zero carbon emissions are shared challenges and responsibilities faced by everyone today.
- The second goal, ‘Integrate Traditional and Modern Approaches to Revitalize Local Culture and Enhance Tribal Economies’ (The Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD COP15), emphasizes that any biodiversity conservation goals must ensure the rights and influence of indigenous peoples and local communities. This corresponds to the task of integrating traditional wisdom with modern knowledge to revitalize tribal development, making indigenous peoples the truly qualified guardians of the natural environment.
- The third goal, ‘ Rebuild a New Co-Governance Mechanism to Connect Partners and Promote the Satoyama Initiative’ (The Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD COP15), proposes achieving the common vision of “harmonious coexistence with nature” by 2050. This goal involves promoting the reconstruction of new forms of co-governance mechanisms by governments and connecting global partners to jointly protect mountains and forests without distinctions.
3. Expected Outcomes
- Strengthening Ecological Conservation for the Sustainable Value of Diverse Ecosystem Services:
– Regularly monitor environmental carrying capacity and local ecological resource recovery, promoting the cyclical utilization and regeneration capabilities of natural resources.
– Safeguard mountains and forests, promote ecological restoration and protection. Enhance ecological education activities to increase public awareness and engagement in ecological matters.
- Integrating Traditional and Modern Approaches to Revitalize Local Culture and Enhance Tribal Economies:
– Establish a database for the management of indigenous traditional knowledge to revitalize traditional culture with modern knowledge. Practice local cultural preservation and inheritance.
– Promote the recognition of the cultural value and importance of indigenous culture, contributing to the socio-economic development of the local community and enhancing tribal resilience.
- Rebuilding a New Form of Co-Governance Mechanism to Connect Partners in Promoting the Satoyama Initiative:
– Strengthen participation in international Satoyama Initiative organizations, sharing successful experiences of the Saisiyat Tribe and implementing the objectives and goals of the Satoyama Initiative.
– Rebuild a new form of co-governance mechanism, connecting government, academia, tribes, communities, and diverse stakeholders for collaborative participation.
4. Actors and Task Sharing
IPSI member: Miaoli County Saisiyat Indigenous People Forestry and Worker Limited Liability Cooperative
As the project leader and coordinator, it is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the initiative, coordinating efforts within the Saisiyat Tribe, and promoting the Satoyama Initiative in other communities and tribes.
IPSI member: Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan(was renamed as Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, Ministry of Agriculture , since 1st August 2023.)
Project supporter and the promoter of the Satoyama Initiative.
Taiwan Indigenous Ecological Agriculture Association;
Nanzhuang Township Office, Miaoli County;
Penglai Elementary School, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County;
They collaborate as shared mission partners.
5. Relevance to the IPSI Strategy and IPSI Plan of Action
- Knowledge Co-Production, Management, and Uptake: Conduct research and knowledge management related to landscape and seascape approaches to address direct and underlying causes responsible for the loss of biological and cultural diversity as well as ecological and socioeconomic services from SEPLS.
- Institutional Frameworks and Capacity Development: Strengthen institutional frameworks and develop capacity to integrate landscape and seascape approaches into policies and crosssectoral strategies related to biodiversity, climate change, sustainable land and sea management, health, agri-food systems, and disaster risk reduction to maintain or enhance the benefits of SEPLS to the environment and society.
- Area-Based Conservation Measures: Promote effective conservation and management through protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs), recognizing indigenous and traditional territories where applicable, and facilitate their integration into the wider landscape and seascape to contribute to the relevant targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Ecosystem Restoration: Promote the restoration of SEPLS and contribute to the goals of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and relevant targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Sustainable Value Chain Development: Promote sustainable practices, market-based mechanisms, and value chains to support sustainable production, including customary sustainable use and economies that rely on traditional knowledge and cultural values and practices, from SEPLS to contribute to the achievement of relevant targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
6. Resources, Funding
The funding for this collaborative project primarily comes from:
- Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan(was renamed as Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, Ministry of Agriculture , since 1st August 2023.)
– Direct budget for 2024: Approximately $60,000 USD
– Indirect budget for 2024: Approximately $40,000 USD (for product design, packaging, and promotion)
- Miaoli County Saisiyat Indigenous People Forestry and Worker Limited Liability Cooperative:
– Estimated self-raised budget for 2024: Approximately $30,000 USD
7. Monitoring and Reporting
The progress report on the annual cooperative project for the year 2024 will be submitted to the Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, MOA.