Implementing the Satoyama Initiative in Shuanglianpi, Yilan: Task Division and Multi-Agency Integration
Yilan County Government
OTHER CONTRIBUTING ORGANIZATIONS
Taipei branch, Soil and Water Conservation Bureau
Luodong Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau
Hualien District Agricultural Research and Extension Station
Environmental Ethics Foundation of Taiwan (EEFT)
Taiwan Forestry Research Institute
Shuanglianpi Sustainable Development Association (SSDA)
DATE OF SUBMISSION
RAWs to ACM, task division, strategy, integration, OECM
KANG,LI-HE [Agriculture Department, Yilan County]
LIN,HSIN-HUNG [Agriculture Department, Yilan County]
CHEN,YI [Agriculture Department, Yilan County]
HSUEH,PO-WEN [Environmental Ethics Foundation of Taiwan]
SUN,HUI-TING [Environmental Ethics Foundation of Taiwan]
Shuanglianpi community is located in the mountain area of Huxi Village, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County. The community is named after the lake – Shuanglianpi, which is situated at the basin between Cukeng River System and Wushi River system. This low elevation lake is a barrier lake formed due to rainfall. The water of Shuanglianpi lake flows into Cukeng River, which is the water source of Yilan Shengou Water Treatment Plant. Therefore, Shuanglianpi is also part of the clean water supply system of nearly 200,000 people in Yilan.
The reclamation of Shuanglianpi can be traced back hundreds of years. Apart from Atayal aborigines who had already immigrated to Wulai, Han people began to reclaim during Wu Sha era. Yet due to the transportation inconvenience, they rarely settled down. During Japanese ruling period, Hakka people from Hinchu and Taoyuan became the early settlers of this area. They obtained the land ownership in Shuanglianpi area after the “land-to-the-tiller” reform. Most of the flat lands surrounded the lake were turned into agricultural fields. During Japanese colonizing period, a canal was built to bring water from Cukeng River to irrigate paddy fields. Typhoon caused severe damages to the canal at about two decades ago. Since the restoration was complicated, the irrigation canal is still not functional as of now. Kids playing with water and catching fish and shrimps in the irrigation canals, while the adults forming a team to maintain the canal are collective memories of local middle-aged residents.
The base of giant floating island on the Shuanglianpi lake is formed by Leersia hexandra Sw. debris. It’s so thick that trees like Polyspora axillaris has grown on it, and the tree roots reinforced the strength of the floating island. Due to the humid and rainy weather, the aquatic plants here had once taken up to one-third species of Taiwan. With such biodiversity, the lake was designated as Yilan County Shuang-lian-pi Wildlife Refuge, the primary object for protection of which is the freshwater aquarium plants.
However the lake itself and the fields surrounded were private properties, land acquisition had caused a huge opposition by local residents due to the lack of sufficient communication. The lake owner even took extreme action – use an excavator to destroy the shape of natural bottom and introduced plant-eating fishes like grass carp and bighead carp. At the end, the whole catchment area of the lake was designated as Yilan County Shuang-lian-Pi Major Wildlife Habitat, excluding the private lands surrounded the lake. Only the lake area is within the designated range of Yilan County Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (referred to as protected area PA). Nowadays the aquatic plants do not grow as flourish as they used to do before in the main lake area.
There are only 38 residents and 3 restaurants in Shuanglianpi area. Domestic sewage, considered point source pollution, is discharged into ditches nearby after primary treatment. Local nonpoint source pollution comes from the usage of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from the fields in the catchment area. Although the diversion ditch was built on the northern shore of the PA to prevent the polluted surface flow from entering the PA, Carlson trophic state index（CTSI） analysis results show that trophic states of the PA is in the over-eutrophic classes according to Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) of the Yilan County Shuanglianpi lake water quality monitoring data (2007-2016). The over enrichment of phosphate in water leads to accelerated growth of algae blooms along with algae degrading by bacteria, and the process would result in oxygen depletion, loss of aquatic plants and environmental quality of PA degradation. Hence, the usage of land outside PA should be involved in PA management by importing “Other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECMs).
Challenges of implementing the Satoyama Initiative
1. The competition of grant programs administering in Shuanglianpi
In the last three years, along with the “Taiwan Ecological Network” promoted by Council of Agriculture (COA), plenty of agencies have administered grant programs in Shuanglianpi area at a time. Besides the ongoing program in the PA funded by Yilan County Government, Luodong Forest District Office (Forestry Bureau), Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and Yilan Management Office (Irrigation Agency) have started new grant programs in Shuanglianpi area. However, integration and lateral communication among programs are complicated since each agency has its administrative policy respectively. If the County Government could integrate the programs as a coordinator and turn competition into cooperation, it would have positive effects on the implementation of Satoyama Initiative in Shuanglianpi.
2. The water deterioration in Shuanglianpi lake (PA) and its catchment area
The water quality of Shuanglianpi lake (PA) and the waterbody nearby is getting worse and worse. Excess fertilizers and pesticides along with domestic sewage in the catchment area contribute to the over-eutrophication of the PA.
Although the annual rainfall in Shuanglianpi area is sufficient, the uneven distribution of water resources in time and space causes insufficient water to dilute the pollution in certain seasons. When water shortage occurs, the base flow in the drainage basin and water system is drawn to fulfill domestic water demand. Lower base flow and the same pollution results in an unfavorable growth environment for aquatic animals and plants.
Local wisdom on limited water resources usage has been almost lost in time since closed pipe system replaced open ditch irrigation. When water quantity became hard to observe, preparation for water shortage might be ignored until it’s too late, which caused larger impact.
3. Aging and Labor Force Shortage
Population aging and lack of farming workforce lead to change in locals’ land use, which leads to abandoned farmland, pesticide application, land transactions, farmland rental, etc. These current situation become barriers to local land use usage) planning.
These days, returning migrants are unable to fully participate in community work since they have to take care of aging parents. Stable -human resource supply is necessary to improve and sustain community functions. The social welfare and mutual support net within community should be strengthened in order to promote the middle-aged returning migrants’ community involvement.
4. Planted forests with poor management
Japanese cedars (Cryptomeria japonica) chosen for the afforestation of national forest land and leased national forestland in early years have already exceeded harvesting age. Right after afforestation, the public opinion pressure on forest logging along with poor forest management, theses declined Japanese cedars not only have low economic value, but also increased the risk of slope slide.
Goals and Strategies
The main goal in implementatung Satoyama Initiative in the Shuanglianpi area is “integrating cross-agency resources, establishing a new public-private partnership model, strengthening local capacities and knowledge, and maintaining the overall environmental quality of Shuanglianpi area.” The strategies are listed as follows (as below):
1. Establish a secretariat for implementing Satoyama Initiative in Shuanglianpi
Multiple agencies are administering grant programs in Shuanglianpi area at the same time. However, since each agency has its administrative policy respectively, integration and lateral communication among programs are complicated. Through the secretariat established by the County Government, it will turn competition into cooperation in the process of program execution, and it will eventually improve administrative efficiency and effectiveness.
2. Discuss and divide tasks through Satoyama Initiative multi-agency communication platform
Establish a multi-agency communication platform, with the secretariat assisting in sorting out action plans of the community-based Resilience Assessment Workshops (RAWs), the expectations and operational strategies of each agency, actively participating in the possible development orientation, coordinating the schedule, orientation, scale and desired outcomes of each grant programs, coordinating the task division, and tracking the progress to avoid mutual conflicts.
3. Keep track of tasks and progress report
The Secretariat continuously keeps track of the implementation progress of each agency and reports to the platform if necessary to facilitate the implementation of Shuanglianpi Satoyama Initiative.
Key Community Stakeholders
1. Yilan County Government
Yilan County Government plays a pivotal role in Shuanglianpi area. It is not only the competent authority of Shuanglianpi Wildlife Sanctuary, but also of the local area. The government leads economic and security strategic policies, partnering with the society.
2. Shuanglianpi Sustainable Development Association (SSDA)
The Shuanglianpi Sustainable Development Association (SSDA) is a non-profit organization approved by the Yilan County Government. The administrative district of Shuanglianpi is Huxi Village, Yuanshan Township. Huxi is a large village composed of Shuanglianpi area (mountain area) and submontane area with much denser population. The development in two areas are long uneven. The SSDA focuses on reginal development while implementing Satoyama Initiative. The founding members include the elders of the Zou, Gao, Luo, Wu, Xie and other landowners in Shuanglianpi, and the members must be the registered landowners and their direct relatives, which strengthen its local representation. In recent years, it has actively worked on promoting eco-friendly farming, cultural and historical field survey and restoration. Since 2022, the SSDA has been entrusted to manage the only public space in the area, the “Shuanglianpi Ecological School”, hoping to build a local a multi-functional center for ecological conservation, public communication, and long-term care purposes.
3. Shuanghu Community Development Association
In Yuanshan township, Huxi village and Hudong village are both designated as rural communities according to “Regulations on Community Development Work” by local government. However, given that both villages are remote and relatively sparsely populated, two villages together formed the “Shuanghu Community Development Association” to be the community organization representative (Shuanghu means two “hu”, Huxi and Hudong). Although Shuanglianpi area is technically in the same rural community as Huxi village, its long-term development is not included in the planning of community development association because it is distant from Huxi village. When it comes to preparing the rural rejuvenation plan, the SSDA would need to discuss with the Shuanghu Community Development Association.
4. Landowners in shuanglianpi area
Shuanglianpi has been an active market for real estate due to its serene landscape formed by mountains and the lake. Among the various land buyers, only a few of them immigrate to Shuanglianpi area. They might start farming, build their cabin or build a campground while most of the land buyers don’t show up unless for policy explanation session to protect their interests.
Apart from the lake (the protected area) which belongs to the Yilan County Government, the rest belongs to three types of people: (1) Remaining residents from local clans. (2) People who started to interact with local after purchasing. (3) Strangers with unclear purpose. The proportions of them are roughly equal, which mean they all would influence the subjectivity and directionality of the areal development.
5. Taipei branch, Soil and Water Conservation Bureau (SWCB)
The rural rejuvenation plan is funded by SWCB. Shuanglianpi area is within the rural community scope of Shuanghu Community Development Association, also SWCB has been actively involved in promoting Satoyama Initiative. Shuanglianpi area has a typical “Satoyama landscape”, plus ” Nature-based Solutions NbS” has been valued lately. SWCB might have positive effect on hydrological issues of Shuanglianpi area by investigate the ancient land use and lifestyle.
Population aging is serious in Shuanglianpi area, and also return migrants are unable to fully participate in community work since they have to take care of aging parents. Through the support of “Green Care Program” of SWCB, labor force shortage in community might be alleviated.
6. Luodong Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau
Shuanglianpi area has been an extremely important place for conservation promotion since 2017, when “Taiwan Ecological Network” started. Luodong Forest District Office preserves the aquatic ecosystem by focusing on the surrounding land use with the concept of “the protected area outside the protected area”. Several programs has been implemented following this concept including restoring of the centurial irrigation canal that improved the relationship between locals and government agencies, establishing water for ecological-use purpose in the Shuanglianpi area and promoting payments for ecosystem services (PES). In 2021,the agency initiated the Satoyama forestry management research.
7. Fushan Botanical Garden, Taiwan Forestry Research Institute
Fushan Botanical Garden is an education, research, display, and conservation center. It is also a well-known spot for one-day trip. It limits five to six hundreds people to enter the botanical garden per day through application process. Botanical garden visitors would pass by the Shuanglianpi village, so a few residents would sell vegetables and run restaurants.
Fushan Botanical Garden is also a research center. In recent years, it has begun to conduct research on Satoyama landscape changes and ecological situation in Shuanglianpi area. There is an ongoing project of cooperating with locals to grow high-value herbs through eco-friendly farming.
8. The Society of Wilderness (SOW)
The Society of Wilderness (SOW) is the biggest non-profit juridical association in Taiwan. In the early years, the members of SOW devoted themselves to the conservation of Shuanglianpi’s aquatic ecology. At that time, with insufficient conservation policies, they contributed to land acquisition for protected area to preserve the environment. Insufficient communication, lack of environmental awareness, the result was not satisfactory. Yet at the end the protected area was established, and SOW has been dedicated to the protected area management since then. In 2010, it started to manage “Shuanglianpi Ecological School” to function as an environmental education facility for ecological preservation, volunteer training, and environmental education. After the entrustment contract ends in 2021, SOW moved to Yuanshan City and continued its preservation project in Shuanglianpi.
Shuanglianpi was included in Northeast Ecological Network of “Taiwan Ecological Network” promoted by Forestry Bureau, COA in 2017 with a main goal of eco-friendly farming and waterfowl conservation. In the case of Shuanglianpi, the protected area itself is the final reservoir of the surrounding water sources which holds out all the discharge of the catchment land use, hence it requires the instruments of Taiwan Ecological Network or the Satoyama Initiative to preserve. In order to encourage eco-friendly farming in the surrounding farmland and reduce the impact of farming on the PA, the Forestry Bureau promotes a centennial irrigation canal restoration program, which values the local wisdom and employs local people. Through the restoration of the canal, the distrust of some residents towards the government caused by the PA designation has also been repaired somewhat. Other government agencies have started to put more resources into areas outside the Shuanglianpi PA. However, since time and details of the programs have not been properly discussed and coordinate, it’s hard to achieve effectiveness.
Luodong Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau conducted resilience assessment workshops (RAWs) in Shuanglianpi to assess resilience in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS). It produced an action plan with 80 tasks, which was sorted into 4 prior subjects. The tasks couldn’t be handled by a certain government agency, and therefore the task division and cooperation among agencies is necessary for Shuanglianpi sustainable development.
Analyzing the operations by different agencies in Shuaglianpi, each agency has its policy aspects and that a multi-agency communication platform needs to be built to coordinate task division and keep track of tasks. Yilan County Government has established a secretariat to sort out tasks according to the action plans of Resilience Assessment Workshops (RAWs). After clarify the authority concerned of each task, the secretariat held a Shuanglianpi multi-agency communication platform on January 2023 to discuss task division and resources integration on the prior subjects. Follow-up meetings would be held when needed. The Shuanglianpi multi-agency communication platform would be held biannually to track the progress and adjust accordingly.
When the four prioritized subjects are implemented, RAWs should be reassessed and reexamed, and the differences of the two RAWs should be cross analyzed. The strategic direction, action items, and execution plans can thus be generated.
1. Result and innovation
(1) Through a task oriented multi-agency communication platform , it enabled task division, mutual benefit and integration among agencies, and it thus improved the administrative efficiency and effectiveness. The achievement belongs to all the government agencies participated in the platform.
(2) Government grant programs often run by private agencies. At each review meeting, related agencies would be invited to keep up with programs, which would facilitate government policies synergizing. Luodong Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau has actively supported holding RAWs, converging local environmental concerns and generating the action plans. These results were taken over smoothly by Yilan County Government and involved all related government agencies in task division to implement the action plan.
(3) The goal of Shuanglianpi Satoyama Initiative is to preserve and improve the aquatic environmental quality of the protected area by achieving sustainable development in surrounding areas. For the farmland on the downstream of lake, the goal is managing to maintain biodiversity as well as regulate flood, demonstrating the public value of ecologically preserved wetlands, and producing conservation discussions corresponding to the implementation of ecosystem service payments, and providing references for other regions.
2. Barriers and influencing factors
(1) Land owners of Shuanglianpi are have their own purposes and land transactions are happened frequently. However, some of the land transactions are under the table. In addition to increasing the time and effort of communicating the concept of sustainable land use, it also increases the risk of negative environmental impact.
(2) The extreme climate has caused changes in the time and space of rainfall in Shuanglianpi in recent years. The prolonged dry season has intensified conflicts over water supply in the area, and the overall atmosphere is not conducive beneficial to mutual trust and communication.
(3) The population of Shuanglianpi is relatively small and aging. The community development is facing labor force shortage. The promotion of public affairs requires more external support.