- Posted January 7, 2013 by
- The Concept of Biodiversity Cannot Enter Taiwanese Society due to the Public’s Unfamiliarity.
- The Economic Value of the Water Terraces in Hualien and New Taipei City Worth More Than 5 Hundred Millions Per Year
- Biological Diversity in Wugou Wetland Guarded by the Wisdom of the Habitants
- Mibaliw Seaside Rice Put on the Market after a Plentiful Harvest
- Harvest of Seaside Rice Brews Revitalization of Amis Drinking Culture
Launch of Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Guan-Tien for Jacana Conservation
Author: Jing-Huei, Liao / Translator: Yu-Ching, Wang / Photo Provided: Wild Bird Society of Tainan via flickr
Jacanas in Tainan City were once victims of farmers’ change of seeding practice. Since then, Tainan City Government has collaborated with the conversation department of the Forestry Bureau to reduce death rate of jacanas. According to a recent survey, the population of jacanas has increased to 485 and the mortality has reduced from 51 to 5, marking a substantial success in jacana conservation.
Since 2010 when a large amount of jacanas were found dead in paddy fields, Chinese Wild Bird Federation, Tainan City Government and the Council of Agriculture have conducted a collaborative investigation. They found that the primary reason for the high mortality was because farmers soaked rice seeds in chemicals and spread them in the fields to reduce cost and the damage caused by birds and mice.
The Forestry Bureau under the Council of Agriculture intervened in 2010 by inviting Tse-Xin Organic Agriculture Foundation (TXOAF) to launch a project aiming to sustainably manage paddy fields (which are also habitats of jacanas) in Guan-Tien. In winter when jacanas are most active, the foundation asked farmers to change their seeding practice. It subsidized farmers to plant rice seedlings rather than spread poisonous rice seeds, and urged farmers not to apply chemicals before February or allow fallow fields to reserve water so that jacanas have sufficient food.
Even if the subsidized farmers practice conventionally, TXOAF keeps encouraging and inviting farmers to switch to organic farming. According to its deputy executive, Su Mu-Rong, the best incentive is that farmers make profits out of organic farming, and the switching can also be achieved more easily if the consumer supports and purchases produce with a green conservation label.
Last year, a total of 1000-kilo water chestnuts with the green conservation label were sold out. Su Mu-Rong stressed that many consumers bought the water chestnuts simply because they had the label. They are also the ones who would constantly ask for and purchase such produce.
On the other hand, the Council of Agriculture also subsidized Tainan City Government in reducing risks in jacanas’ breeding periods. For example, farmers are told to avoid jacana nests when they apply chemicals. The city government has also allocated a budget of 1.6 million NTD to ensure water and food supply in the habitats so that jacanas do not search for food in nearby fields where they may consume poisonous seeds.
The success of jacana conservation in Guan-Tien is the joint contribution of different parties. It marks the collaboration among NGOs (TXOAF and Wild Bird Society of Tainan), farmers, local and national authorities, as well as the general public who participate in the way of consumption.