Gaoshi Tribe in Mudan Establishes First “Community Mushroom Center” in Taiwan

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With a population of only 5000 people, Mudan Township, in the most Southern stretches of Taiwan, “Sotoyama under forest economics” are being introduced as a model of generating income while following the ancient wisdom of living in harmony with nature.

With a population of only 5000 people, Mudan Township, in the most Southern stretches of Taiwan, “Sotoyama under forest economics” are being introduced as a model of generating income while following the ancient wisdom of living in harmony with nature.

The project was launched with support from the National Development Council, the Forestry Bureau and the Pingtung County Government and is part of the first wave of such projects to be implemented across the country. It is also the first township-wide under forest economics “placemaking” project to be rolled out in Taiwan.

On December 11th, representatives from various government agencies and partnering organizations were present for the unveiling the new “Community Mushroom Cultivation Center”, the centerpiece of the project. The director of the Forestry Bureau, Hua Ching Lin made some remarks at the event, stating that “the mushroom cultivation is the result of cooperation between industry, government and academia – with the platform coming from industry, the technology from academia, the local seeds and workers coming from the community and resources and support coming from the government.”

He also added that “unlike with industry mushroom cultivation systems, this model is suited for mountain villages, small farms – and can provide new opportunities for young people who want to move back to the rural communities they grew up in. With different mushrooms selected for each of the different mountain areas throughout Taiwan these projects will also preserve diversity and make the industry more resilient.”

The current project began in May of this year and has been promoted for less than 7 months. In the future, with the goal will be to continue maintaining the ecosystem and operating sustainably while following Sotoyama principles to help Mudan Township to develop under forest economies.

Mudan Township has a 60-year history of mushroom cultivation. Over the years, wood from the Castanopsis indica tree has served as the main substrate for growing. The shiitake mushrooms they cultivated had a strong aroma and unique flavor. Recently, however, they have faced with problems such as insufficient source of substrate and weakening of strains. The strain that used to maintain a production capacity of three years now has only one year of productivity. 

A team was organized to find solutions to the problems, and working together with National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute and the Gaoshi Tribe of Mudan Township established the first Community Mushroom Cultivation Center in the country. The professional team conducted assessments, collected and evaluated different strains of mushrooms and carried out propagation work. Dividing the labor between the school and the community, training and technology transfer was carried out until the community was able to completely take over the operation. Through the project, tribal youth, like Zhi-yang Li and Chia-Rou Wang, have been able to learn new skills that are enabling them to engage in economic activity right in their own village.  

The director of the Mudan Township Office, Pan Chuang-chih, said that “in the past the people of Mudan who lived on the mountains ate from the mountains, and those who lived on the ocean ate from the ocean – living in harmony with nature. Even though the tribes’ people didn’t know the technical terms like “Sotoyama Initiative”, “under forest economics” and “agroforestry”, they were fortunate that Professor Mei-hui Chen and her team from NPUST came in and introduced mushroom cultivation techniques, under forest bee keeping and chicken rearing. This has given residents an opportunity to learn professional technology, and to gradually establish an under forest economy name-brand for the township”.

The project host, Prof. Mei-hui Chen has great expectations for the project. Already five of the six villages in Mudan are on board with eco-tourism and now with support from the government agencies, she expects that the communities will be able to develop under forest economic knowhow and placemaking activities. And as it takes root, it will help more community gems to shine across Taiwan.

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2020

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2020

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.National Chi Nan University
3.Da-Yeh University
4.National Cheng Kung University
5.Chaoyang University of Technology
6.National Yunlin University of Science & Technology
7.National Chin-Yi University of Technology
8.Nanhua University Taiwan
9.National Chung Hsing University
10.National Taitung University

Taiwan’s Star of Sustainability: NPUST Climbs in GreenMetric Ranking

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NPUST’s has distinguished itself once again on the GreenMetric University Ranking, achieving a new personal best in 2020.

NPUST’s has distinguished itself once again on the GreenMetric University Ranking, achieving a new personal best in 2020.

Every year since 2014 NPUST has been named the “greenest” university in the Taiwan. This year, that title remained— while in broader fields of competition, she is making new headway.

With 132 new participants, a total of 912 universities from 84 countries around the world signed up for the in 2020 assessment. Among very strong competition, NPUST came in at 4th in all of Asia and 31st world-wide (beating its previous best of 32nd in 2014)

From the installation of energy saving infrastructure, to the use of upcycling to add new value to waste products, NPUST is always looking for new ways to make its campus more sustainable. The school has even developed a comprehensive water-saving system that treats and recycles water to irrigate the campus grounds and keep its plant-life green and healthy. The transportation policy at the school is also up-to-speed, with electric busses providing students with convenient commutes, save the carbon.

Finally, when it comes to environmental education, NPUST has been working to maintain a spirit of sustainable environmental development. Through curriculum arrangements, campus activities and network promotion, the university is invested in developing skills and technology related to green energy, environmental protection, and sustainable practices.

The Director of General Affairs at NPUST, Chin-Lung Chang, commented on the pleasing results, stating that “because our university occupies such a vast campus, we have a greater demand for power; in order to reduce electricity consumption and lower carbon emissions, this year we installed LED lights for all the campus streetlights and classroom lighting, we have also been gradually replacing all the air conditioners with energy saving inverter type units. This year NPUST also won the University Social Responsibility prize at the 2020 Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards – and is employing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to promote campus sustainability and university social responsibility”.

The GreenMetric University Ranking was created in 2010 by the University of Indonesia (UI) based on six indicators (infrastructure, energy, waste treatment, water resources, transportation and education). For the past decade, universities around the world have been responding to UI’s call and working to make campuses greener and more sustainable. In Taiwan, NPUST’s work in this area has been exemplary and this year’s results are evidence of its commitment.

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2019

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2019

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.National Chi Nan University
3.Chaoyang University of Technology
4.Da Yeh University
5.National Yunlin University of Science and Technology
6.Nanhua University  
7.National Taipei University of Technology
8.Yuan Ze University
9.Asia University
10.National Cheng Kung University

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2018

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2018

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.National Chi Nan University
3.Chaoyang University of Technology
4.Da Yeh University
5.Nanhua University Taiwan
6.Asia University Taiwan
7.National Taipei University of Technology
8.National Yunlin University of Science & Technology
9.National Cheng Kung University
10.Yuan Ze University

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2017

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2017

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.National Chi Nan University
3.Chaoyang University of Technology
4.Da Yeh University
5.Asia University Taiwan
6.Nanhua University Taiwan
7.National Taipei University of Technology
8.National Yunlin University of Science & Technology
9.National Cheng Kung University
10.I-Shou University

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2016

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2016

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.Da-Yeh University
3.National Chi Nan University
4.Nanhua University Taiwan
5.National Taipei University of Technology
6.Chaoyang University of Technology
7.Asia University
8.Yuan Ze University
9.I-Shou University
10.Providence University

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2015

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2015

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.Da-Yeh University
3.National Taipei University of Technology
4.Chaoyang University of Technology
5.I-Shou University
6.Yuan Ze University
7.Asia University Taiwan
8.National Chung Hsing University
9.National Chiao Tung University
10.National Dong Hwa University

NPUST has been ranked as 1st in Taiwan in 2014

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2014

1.National Pingtung University of Science & Technology
2.Da-Yeh University
3.Chaoyang University of Technology
4.I-Shou University
5.National Taipei University of Technology
6.Asia University Taiwan
7.Yuan Ze University
8.National Chiao Tung University
9.National Chung Hsing University
10.National Yunlin University of Science & Technology