Apply Environmental Education to Foster Practices of Satoyama Initiative: Examples of Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau



  • Chinese Society for Environmental Education


  • 11/04/2019


  • Eastern Asia


  • Chinese Taipei


  • Chinese Society for Environmental Education has assisted Forestry Bureau, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan in preparing, planning, establishing, operating and training 8 Nature Centers since 2006 in order to transform the learning site into the channel between forestry policies and general public. The earlier forestry policies in Taiwan mainly focused on timber production and had gradually adjusted to sustainable forestry management. Based on the international Satoyama Initiative, the integrated national green ecological network has been set up to introduce the sustainable industries and lifestyle between human beings and nature. The 8 Nature Centers instructed by Chinese Society for Environmental Education combines ideas of “sustainable forest management” and “environment monitoring” into course design to intrigue voluntary participation from learners and local communities on resource management. ¬Furthermore, policies from Forestry Bureau can be carried out in accordance with the sustainable spirit from Satoyama Initiative.


  • Environmental Education, Sustainable Forestry, Public-private partnership


  • Chih-ying Lee, Chief Executive Officer, EnvEd Centre for Innovative Learning; Dr. Kuang-Chung Lee, Associate professor, National Dong-Hwa University; Dr. Yi-Ju Yang, Associate professor, National Dong-Hwa University

  • LINK


Summary Sheet

The summary sheet for this case study is available here.


Taiwan has nearly 2.1 million hectares of forest which is a precious asset that covers about 60.71% of the total territory. Chinese Society for Environmental Education has assisted Forestry Bureau, the central administrative authority of forestry management and biodiversity conservation, in preparing, planning, establishing, operating and training 8 Nature Centers since 2006. The forest is consequently converted into environmental education resource and provides the first-hand learning experience which can increase general public’s awareness, cognition, value and action toward forest.

Graph 1 Locations of Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau and years of establishment

The goal of forest management and village development has changed from earlier timber production to three in one purpose of logging, nourishment and conservation. Influenced by international conservation trend and grassroots environmental movements, the forestry management has further emphasized on collaborating with advocacy groups and interested parties as “ecological system operator of new environmentalism” and thus developed multi-objectives operation model including ecological conservation, territory protection and recreation. Currently, forestry management in Taiwan has blended in public participation and co-management in the mechanism. The 8 Nature Centers instructed by Chinese Society for Environmental Education has become the platform for policy communication, value clarification and public participation and ultimately create the harmonious relationship between nature and human beings. During the process of advocating Satoyama Initiative, the centers are also the crucial foundation that play the role of “public participation and partnership” by means of environmental education, interpretation and communication.

Many members of Chinese Society for Environmental Education have devoted themselves to the establishment of Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau and promoting practices of Satoyama Initiatives since 2006. They are from area of industries, public offices and academia.

Graph 2 Strategic planning for Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau instructed by Chinese Society for Environmental Education

IPSI activity area

A. Knowledge facilitation:

The case is a training program based on Satoyama Initiatives in 8 centers or surrounding field for local communities. The goal is to introduce the related parties to the value and wisdom within diversified ecological system service and the policies related to Satoyama Initiatives from Forestry Bureau.

B. Capacity building:

The centers are considered as learning bases and an exchange platform for the related parties in order to trigger more participation and collaboration so that the “three-fold approach” from Satoyama Initiative can be blended in local communities and sustainable forestry development.

C. On-the-ground activities:

All the 8 centers put ideas of local forestry production or Satoyama Initiative actions in aboriginal tribes into program designs for achieving the following goals: The first is to reinforce the learners’ identity and participation on local movement. And the second is to increase income for local communities by providing program services.

Executive strategies

Environment education is an interdisciplinary subject which integrates natural science (natural resource management, life and environmental science), social science (sociology, psychology and behavioral science) and pedagogy related theories and techniques to fulfill behavioral change. In short, the core advocacy of environmental education is hoping that people can live on this land righteously. As a result, the teaching methods and fields for environmental education is usually different from traditional education model. Teaching activities for environmental education, as the name implies, are tightly connected with environmental issues and it is the most effective way to make use of the familiar surroundings for the learners or lead them in natural environment to experience, feel and discover environmental related information in person. In other words, facing a rapid-changing society and much complex environment issues, teaching environmental education shouldn’t be confined to delivering knowledge, but to integrating present social, economical and political orders with the knowledge, attitude and skills that the learners have. Learning activities should equip the learners to have critical and creative thinking to solve problems in real life.

Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau are also facilitating the Satoyama Initiative policies of Forestry Bureau and supporting related parties to take action while achieving their own mission, visions and goals. In this case, Chinese Society for Environmental Education deepens the value of forest ecology services and turns the 8 Nature Centers into the channel for conveying Satoyama Initiatives between local communities by the following curriculum development strategies.

Table 1: Missions and goals of Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau

A. Develop forestry programs to facilitate communications on related environmental issues:​

Forestry is the implement of forest science and forest science is a compound of many subjects covering phytophysiology, management, physics, chemistry and ecology etc. In addition to the formation of subjects, forestry also has distinctive culture and history which make it even more complicated. Due to the complexity of forestry, it is hard for general public to comprehend the content in forestry and can easily have cognitive bias.

Since 2011, Chinese Society for Environmental Education has initiated “Forestry Program Advancement Project” to introduce the general public and students to the duty of Forestry Bureau by ideas and methods of environmental education and to fulfill the goals of policy communication in multi-objective management in forest and value clarification of the importance, sustainability and legitimacy in forestry.

Graph 3 Executive concept of “Forestry Program Advancement Project” for Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau

Based on the structure of forest science and forestry, the “Forestry Program Advancement Project” is divided into three aspects: resource, utilization and management. During planning the forest environmental education curriculum guidelines, three aspects are therefore condensed into three theme cores: “forest ecology and function”, “forest management and techniques” and “forest culture and ethics”. The theme cores include 9 main ideas and 35 learning objectives. The cognitive, affective, psychomotor and action domains are also included under each learning objective for program designers and teachers’ reference.

In 2017, Chinese Society for Environmental Education selected 12 programs from more than 300 forestry related programs that Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau developed in a decade and published LearnForest–Collection of Forest Environmental Education Teaching Material with anticipation that the publication can upgrade the service capacity of each nature center and train more “Learn.Forest” lecturers, seed teachers, local school teachers, community workers and Satoyama Initiative advocators. As a result, forest environment education can also flourish outside Nature Centers.

Graph 4 Annual priorities of forest environmental education from Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau

B. Plan and perform scientific study programs combining environmental monitoring projects:​

The natural and cultural resource survey have been collected as the foundation and information for program planning from the establishment of the first Nature Center in 2007. Diversified theme programs including biodiversity, forestry culture, environmental aesthetics, water resource protection, environmental ethics, energy saving and carbon deduction are developed for different learners and found sharing mechanism by physical (achievement sharing and interactive meeting) or virtual space (social media interaction, online data base and essays on “Forest News”) to share common program resources and teaching achievements within centers.

To combine environment monitoring with program design in 8 Nature Centers, Chinese Society for Environmental Education has targeted students over 11 years old and adults on designing scientific study programs and fostering both interest and ability to carry out independent study and active discovery through the process of hypothesis, survey, proof and analysis since 2011. The scientific study results from each center are not only used as feedback for administrative authorities but is introduced to schools and families to live up to environmental monitoring in daily life and carry out the concept of “mutual citizen management on environmental resources” and therefore learners are able to treasure the forest and territory.

Objectives of the scientific study programs are to foster scientific attitude and introduce scientific methods. The scientific attitude is about discarding bias and recognizing only facts and evidence. As to the scientific methods, there are 3 focuses: facts, hypothesis and proof. The first step is to identify specific question and study each aspect and every certain fact by thorough investigation, measurement and observation. The second step is to suggest hypothetical solution on specific question which is also known as hypothesis based on personal experience and knowledge. Imagination is also required to assume certain outcome from each hypothesis and whether the outcome can indeed solve the problem. The third step is to manipulate logics and experiment including comparative method, variable method and simulation method (indirect experiment) to verify whether hypothesis is a reliable fact or not. Learners can make the most of their curiosity, imagination, collected data, teamwork, scientific attitude and method to solve the problem in the diversified natural environment as a free and independent spirit.

There are 2 ongoing co-monitoring projects by learners of 8 Nature Centers:

  • Complete enumeration in plantation permanent samples
  • Hydrology resource study in plantation permanent samples

All natural resources including forest are public property which often faces managerial challenges such as privatization issues and the dilemma that everyone has opinion but none manages. The core cause among the managerial challenges on public property is the cognitive and behavioral divergence between “public owners” and “public managers” whereas one of the solutions, the objective of this case, is to raise public awareness toward resource management. When the public managers share closer value and attitude, the managerial objectives can more likely be achieved under the premise of sustainable development.


A. Practice the sustainable essence of Satoyama Initiatives

The goal of sustainable development is to seek the stability between economic growth, social justice and ecological environment as “the ability of satisfying needs for current generation while not threatening generations to come”. Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau are an integration and promotion platform for forest environmental education and focus on stimulating environmental protection action by means of environmental education. On the aspect of social justice, services provided by Nature Centers also carry out goals of “equal right to environment and education” at the same time. Implementing equal right to environment is an idea of pursuing environmental justice. During the influence of long-term environmental education, each global citizen is expected to equally share the same environmental resource and living space. Nature Centers also meet needs of the minority and various learners when designing programs in the hope of enjoyable learning experiences for everyone so that equal right to education for the learners is well taken care of.

On the aspect of economic development, the green collar industry of environmental education is not only an emerging field in combination with local features and resources but also a crucial industry to display the soft power of educational services and ease the environmental resource challenges in Taiwan. With the training and guidance from Nature Centers, communities nearby also inherit environmental education professions and live out the lives following Satoyama Initiatives.

B. Create the new vitality of forest and forestry​

Facing international and domestic environmental issues including global climate change, biodiversity, national land security and restoration, carbon reduction and increase on domestic energy, Forestry Bureau dedicates to transforming into learning organization and autonomously initiates reform when forestry management is about to change. Functions of forest have been converted as Chinese Society for Environmental Education assists the operation of Nature Center network. It is a chance to identify the opportunities and challenges of the environmental issues by supporting internal reform and improving external social values to educate the general public for taking real action. Promoting natural education, fulfilling the sustainable development spirit of “respect nature and people, complete missions on the right position”, going with the flow in nature and finding the best reform path are ways to acquire real sustainable maintenance, manage and improve each function and benefits that forest has to offer.

After viewing the current programs from Nature Centers, it can blend field features, Satoyama Initiative ideas from Forestry Bureau and the village development and sustainable forestry in nearby communities in the programs to present the new vitality of forest and forestry within the internal and external communications.

Graph 5 Inclusive and conveyable ideas in Nature Centers

C. Achieve the goal of sustainably manage natural and cultural asset with programs

Leading learners to think about the relationship between human beings and environment by environmental education method is not only a “future management” strategy in the long run but also a “sustainable operation” method to make environmental resource last permanently. Besides direct field management or value clarification through teaching programs, Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau also accumulate environmental information of relevant field through scientific survey and environment monitoring courses. Moreover, utilizing these fields over a long period of time not only conveys environmentally friendly attitude but also one of the civil actions of “public management on natural and cultural asset”. Both the observations from the teachers and study from the learners are valuable environment monitoring data. The efforts will gradually form social atmosphere and public participation toward co-ownership, co-sharing and co-management on natural and cultural asset.


Eight Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau is both an “integration and promotion platform for forest environmental education” and a “communication channel for sustainable forestry policies”. By implanting both scientific study spirit and environment monitoring methods into program design and actively developing related courses of forest environmental education, the ultimate goals are to let more people understand the vision of sustainable forest management and to bring up responsible citizen toward environmental sustainability.

In this case, Chinese Society for Environmental Education brings authentic experience and feelings which are different from formal education to related parties for the past 10 years. It is the core value of education to learn by doing and deepen all the learning experiences about natural knowledge outside formal education in real environment. Besides soft power, programs are also a kind of intangible asset that can distribute multiple values, knowledge and skills. During the collaborative process between public and private sectors, Chinese Society for Environmental Education and Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau have achieved goals of strengthening services and wisdom from forest ecology, integrating traditional ecological knowledge and modern science into programs and unfolding values of sustainable forestry and village development to the learners and local communities. What we wish to present is to become a disseminating unit which facilitates the spirit of Satoyama Initiatives through a platform like Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau in this case.

Graph 6 Beneficial analysis of practicing Satoyama Initiatives through Nature Centers

Picture of Events

Staff from Chinese Society for Environmental Education lead tutors from Nature Centers on designing programs and teaching materials

Learners participate in forest resource study and accumulate environment monitoring data through citizen science

Exclusive traning for tutors in Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau to enhance overall comprehension on current policies

Hydrology resource study in plantation permanent samples

Introduce content of Satoyama Initiatives by intriguing activities

Forest resource study in plantation permanent samples

Combine scientific study with forestry program and train local community for co-managing natural resources

Integrate “three-fold approach” structure from Satoyama Initiatives into local community and development of sustainable forestry by means of activities in programs

Seed teacher training for publication of Learn.Forest–Collection of Forest Environmental Education Teaching Material

Learn.Forest–Collection of Forest Environmental Education Teaching Material, publication from Nature Centers of Forestry Bureau with assistance of Chinese Society for Environmental Education