This picture shows people gathered around a lotus farm in Jinshan(金山) for bird-watching.
From 2014 to 2016, an endangered Siberian white crane settled in Jinshan, which successfully attracted people for bird-watching, induced a series of social activist and local leader engaged in regional revitalization, especially promoting eco-friendly farming and product.
Jinshan district, located at the North Coast of Taiwan, always attracts migratory birds to stay at the wetland between suburban hill and the coastline in which peasants cultivate hydroponic plant. Due to the arrival of the Siberian White Crane, Chiu Ming-Yuan, the chairman of Taiwan Ecological Engineering Foundation (TEEF), started his promotion of eco-friendly farming. Chiu and his foundation paid double for the crops which grow in the wetland that offer the Siberian White Crane sufficient food. While suggesting old peasants to irrigate the wasteland again, Chiu also give guidance in developing eco-friendly tourism and education.
To managed an environmental engineering program in Jinshan district, Taiwan Ecological Engineering Foundation and the affiliated Spring Thunder Environmental Study Club (春雷環境學社) followed the examples of Satoyama Initiative to work out a draft for Jinshan. In this picture, you can see the Taiwan's Satoyama vision in Jinshan emphasize on three aspects: habitat restoration, industrial recovery and ecological education.
Agriculture in Jinshan district was prosperous in Japanese occupation period and gradually declined after 1970 when Taiwan faced a rapid economic growth under KMT’s rule. In 1990, land retirement and abandoned field became the most common scene in Jinshan because of the low income in peasant household (less than 20,0000 NTD per year). Migration and aging of population struck the countryside and intensified inequivalence between urban and rural area.
The main group influenced by the rural-urban migration impact (usually the small-holder farmers) and the following effective solution to this problem has seldom been referred in the official archives. What we see in the map of the discussion of land use in 1993 Jinshan County by the techno-bureaucracy is an unrealistic urban planning in the hope of reproducing the successful model in Taipei and other big city. For the officials in local government responsible for securing tax revenue, attracting urban people to visit Jinshan by recreation farms and scenic attractions is one of the relatively practical way.
When Chiu and his foundation interfered in bird conservation in Jinshan, they try to maintain a good relationship with the remaining local peasants and the central government to facilitate the work of habitat restoration. To support their appeal, TEEF carried out a series of survey based on scientific method, including environmental factors such as water quality and monitoring the population size of animal indicators to prove the importance of farm as an artificial wetland. The tools they used in reporting and visualizing data seems like QGIS and Google Earth by which researcher can classify and code the sort of habitat to analysis the migration route of the bird. With these popular instruments, people in TEEF can precisely put their effort in the hot spots.
In this picture of environmental education program, we can see many biological concepts are introduced to children such as the quantitative measurement of the vision of aquatic bird and protective coloration.
In accordance with the environmental protection movement and the goal of attracting talented people back to their Jinshan hometown, TEEF appealed local people to be aware of the ecological function and uniqueness of their farmland. TEEF also delivered knowledge from classical biology textbook to local farmer and resident. Furthermore, they trained volunteer guides to engage in the in-depth travel which combines food education and environmental education for visitors. People in TEEF exerted their own expertise to came up with several win-win solution and raised money for the Siberian White Crane but soon after encountering problems.
ln the meantime, several places interfered by TEEF like Ba-yien village (八煙聚落) has become visible to mass media and tourist. However, beneath the promising concepts of management is exposure effect gave rise to subsequent dissenting voice from resident in Ba-yien and Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters (陽管處). Resident in Ba-yien could not tolerate the behavior of tourists and their use of facilities which resulted in noise and pollution. Furthermore, they accused that the new business brought disputes of interest to their village and seriously damaged the unity of the lineage. To TEEF’s frustration, a potential ideal model of Satoyama in Taiwan finally turned out to be a village that refused to cooperate with outsiders.
Since 2016, the year of the Siberian white crane’s departure, a famous social activist Yang Ru-Men(楊儒門) came into Jinshan to achieve his goal : “a better future of our farmers”. The crucial event that brought Yang to the political stage is Taiwan’s entry into the WTO in 2002. From 2003 to 2004, Yang set seventeen bombs in public places in order to raise concern about the crush to domestic rice farmer after government’s allowance of the import of agricultural product. This fierce action gave he the name ‘rice bomber’.
Due to Yang’s arrival, TEEF withdrew from Jinshan and their previous effort and connection was taken over by Yang and his foundation.