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Indigenous Group Realizes Spirit of Satoyama Initiative
I. The origin of Satoyama Initiative
In 2000, the United Nations Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 5) decided to combine agriculture with biodiversity conservation. Later in 2002 through international cooperation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) advocated the preservation and protection of agricultural biodiversity, knowledge, food and livelihood security, and traditional agricultural culture. Nevertheless, due to overdevelopment and exploitation of global resources, disaster caused by climate change, decline in agricultural population and quick loss of tropical rain forest, it is still not possible for food and environmental protection to reach a balance. In 2010, the UN Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) which took place in Japan had activated the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), proposing the landscape composed by forest, community and agricultural ecosystem from the plains to the mountains. It aims to reach the harmonious coexistence between society and nature by sustainable management of land and natural resources while maintaining biodiversity and sustainable use of resources.
Based on composite rural ecosystems similar to Satoyama-like landscapes around the world, the Satoyama Initiative was generated from the long-term interaction between human's lifestyle and nature. Its vision is to realize societies in harmony with nature through a three-fold approach: consolidating wisdom on securing diverse ecosystem services and values, integrating traditional ecological knowledge and modern science to promote innovations, and exploring new forms of co-management systems or evolving frameworks of “commons” while respecting traditional communal land tenure. The approach should entail five crucial perspectives: resource use within the carrying capacity of the environment, cyclic use of natural resources, recognition of local traditions and culture, multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration, contributions to sustainable socio-economies. Within the initiative, a variety of forests, grassland and wetland co-exist and form an intricate pattern where wild animals dwell and some of the inhabitants are endangered species. On the other hand, it assists in preventing disaster, protecting watershed and offering other important ecosystem service. The harmonious long-term interaction between rural residents and surrounding natural environment has created complex mosaic landscapes called socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS). These landscapes have a variety of different names across countries and languages, such as Muyong, Uma and Payoh in the Philippines, Mauel in Korea, Dehesa in Spain, Terroirs in France and other Mediterranean countries, Chitemene in Malawi and Zambia, Satoyama and Satoumi in Japan, Fungshui forest and Tianyuan in China, to name a few.
II. Satoyama Initiative expands deep into the indigenous tribes
The Council of Agriculture (COA) plays the role of central administrative institution for the promotion of biodiversity, and is responsible for wildlife and habitat conservation. In addition to marking wetlands with ecological value into protected areas for wildlife and habitat, the Forestry Bureau under COA has been actively working on conservation of hill, farmland, and wetland near the forest and protection of the mountains alongside indigenous tribes in recent years due to the conflict that came between economic development and environmental protection. The Forestry Bureau has 60% of forest area under its jurisdiction, overlapping with traditional indigenous lands and dwellings areas. 74% of the indigenous reserves are forestry land, and according to Regulations on Non-urban Land Use Control, forestry lands are used exclusively by the forestry industry and its relevant facilities. Under such land usage control, the indigenous people either cannot cultivate, or they overuse land due to unfamiliarity with such regulations, whichever the case it impacts their livelihood. In the past, the Forestry Bureau paid less attention to the dependency between community residents and forest when managing forest resources, especially the life and cultural demand of indigenous tribes. The negligence caused conflicts between forestry administrations and community residents. Moreover, the lack of active communication resulted in long-term distrust and opposition. Taking nature conservation as objective, protected areas including national parks, wildlife refuges, and nature reserves established in the traditional indigenous patrimonial regions all have differences in social economy, local customs, and geographical environment. As many indigenous tribes are located around protected areas, the management strategy should be coordinated with the development objective of community, so as to reduce the pressure of economic development and the conflict between residents and government administrations. In the mean time, the lack of professionals in administrative institutions and the incompleteness or inflexibility of the regulations could be solved. The Indigenous Community Conservation Area and Collaborative Management could be regarded as feasible management strategy for forestry business sectors.
The Indigenous Community Conservation Area refers to natural and/or modified ecosystems containing significant biodiversity, ecological, and cultural values, voluntarily conserved by indigenous and local communities, through community regulations or other effective means. Voluntary management on local ecosystem is carried out through traditional knowledge and tribal regulations, which further protect important ecosystems and endangered species. Collaborative management is also known as joint administration, which emerged from the changes of environment and society. As the central government was unable to solve part of the environmental problems, collaborative management gradually became the ideal managerial tool for reserves or buffer zones. The advantage dwelt on the compromised responsibility from government institutions to protect resources, and scientific knowledge, especially local information, enabling decision making process to take resource users and managers into consideration. In this way, a fair decision would be made to take care of other marginal groups.
Satoyama Initiative is dedicated to restore the balance between human and land, which is closely related to international issues such as community conservation area, agricultural biodiversity, and traditional indigenous knowledge. Thus, in 2008 the Forestry Bureau collaborated with National Pingtung University of Science and Technology’s Professor Chen Mei-hui to develop ecotourism in the local community of Shuangguei Lake Major Wildlife Habitat and Adiri village in Wutai Township, Pingtung near Dawushan Nature Reserve. Even though typhoon Morakot hit the tribe in 2009 and stopped the progress of ecotourism, an extensive reconstruction of infrastructure, homeland, life, culture and industry was carried out to offer more working opportunities and retain more people in the tribe. Transition of forestry industry took place in 2010 in accordance with the connotation of Satoyama Initiative, liberalizing reasonable use of environmental resources to local tribes which served as cooperative partner to resource governance institutions. Various tasks such as patrol, conservation, and monitoring have been carried out in Ali, Dalai, Dewun, and Dawu tribes along the Highway No. 24, which enabled indigenous tribesmen to strengthen the collection of tribal legend, hunting culture, traditional taboo, regulations, knowledge and experience inherited from ancestors living in the forest through such works. By means of research, data collection and establishment, the know-how of the past could be activated with modern science and assist indigenous people to pay heed to industrial reconstruction, such as culture creative products (ie. galangal woven work), songs (ie. Paiwan and Rukai), ecotourism (ie. 2 days and 1 night Adiri ecotourism), educational training, reactivation of traditional farming (ie. millet, quinoa, pigeon pea, taro, etc.), and planting herbal medicine in the lowland and peripheral gap lands (ie. Danggui and anoectochilus). In the past, the tribe relied on the primary industry for survival, and the cultivation methodology was inherited from ancestors with no need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Even though it requires more manpower, this type of cultivation is friendly to the environment and food compared with conventional farming. With this advantage, promoting the tribal crops with certification to ensure the quality and value of agricultural products would help these tribes to become the social production and ecological tribes that fit the spirit of Satoyama Initiative.
Moreover, in order to safeguard indigenous people’s inherent right to utilize forestry resources and advance towards forest co-management and resource sharing, the COA announced that the work for drafting the Traditional Indigenous Land and Forest Property Management Regulation is in progress. After the promulgation of the said regulation, indigenous people would be able to collect forest produce such as wild plant and mushroom within national forests and public forests based on traditional culture, rituals, and personal use, among other purposes.
The Satoyama Initiative was conceived to restore the balance between human and land through traditional socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), as well as emphasize the harmonious co-existence between man and nature. The international community regards the initiative as a new international system, which helps to pass down traditional wisdom and tribal culture in the forest tribal villages. Moreover, the indigenous reserves should be used for the purpose of maintaining sustainable natural resource and traditional cultural resource, and the management collaboration between public and private sectors in indigenous communities should be developed. The Forestry Bureau and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology launched a collaborative management project with indigenous communities along the highway No. 24 with the purpose of boosting tribal industrial development and innovative thinking of rural rejuvenation. In the future, the Forestry Bureau would continue to expand and intensify the spirit of Satoyama Initiative by promoting it to other tribes, expanding the public-private collaborative framework, building cooperative network with local government, establishing public-private collaborative marketing platform of ecological industry and local ecological industry, creating new employment market, and increasing the income of residents so that the ultimate goal of collaborative management, Satoyama Initiative, and community conservation zone could be accomplished.