On November 18th an opening ceremony was held for the newly created “Center for Community Forestry”, which is stationed at the NPUST Department of Forestry building. The center will work to promote the sustainable use of Taiwan’s rich natural & cultural resources, community development, revitalization of village economies, and adoption of “Sound Material-Cycle Society” concepts. The underlying strategy is based on the Japanese “Satoyama” (里山) practices of “managing forests through local agricultural communities”.The center came about through the cooperative efforts of the Forestry Bureau and NPUST. Through talent cultivation and cross discipline integration, hopes are to officially initiate an era of “Community Forestry 2.0” and help Taiwan’s mountainous villages move towards a future of stable development.The center will serve both as green-economy talent bank for the mountainous areas, and a base for education & training, knowledge exchange and international cooperation. An online platform has also been set up to collect and share knowledge, technology and resources. Representatives of NPUST, the Forestry Bureau, the Wutai Government and the Rukai Tribe Council were joined by related experts in the field at the opening ceremony.In remarks made by Vice President Chung-Ruey Yen, reference was given to President Chang-Hsien Tai’s emphasis on ecological conservation and the four main axes of development he established for the university when beginning his presidency; namely, technology based agriculture, ecology industry, platinum society and blue economy. Vice-President Yen went on further to explain how the university’s six colleges are working to integrate industry supply chains and linking with community industries to optimize industry-government-academia cooperation.Forestry Bureau Director Hwa-Ching Lin explained that the bureau initiated the “Local Ecology Conservation Green-Network Project” in 2018 in an effort to create conservation areas extending from Taiwan’s central mountain areas, across the foothills and plains, right down to the coastlines – giving expression to the natural essence of the surrounding communities and tribes. The bureau also established a “Satoyama Roots Economy” knowledge information system (KIS) to provide information and matchmaking services to communities across Taiwan.Since 2002 the Forestry Bureau has been promoting community forestry practices and cooperating with different tribes to put over 2300 projects into effect. In 2008, the bureau began cooperating with NPUST’s Professor Mei-Hui Chen to develop ecological tourism with indigenous tribes in Pingtung and helping with the efforts to rebuild after the devastating Morakot Typhoon ravaged the area.Nakamura Nobuyuki, a Satoyama expert from Japan, was also given a special invitation to be present during the opening ceremony. Nakamura, who is also on the preparatory committee for the Taiwan-Japan Satoyama Exchange Council, expressed his appreciation for the way universities, governmental agencies and local communities in Taiwan were cooperating closely with one another in a manner that he has not seen elsewhere.In an effort to add even greater depth to the Satoyama orientated objectives, NPUST has also applied for membership to the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI), which is sanctioned by the government of Japan and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). NPUST is hoping to become the 10th organization in Taiwan be inducted into the partnership, thus allowing the university to glean more information and experience from other organizations conducting related research and give faculty members a new opportunity to represent Taiwan internationally and share the results of their long term research activities in rural areas.
New Center for Community Forestry to Promote Satoyama Economies