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Farmland plays crucial roles on sustaining biodiversity and also provides important ecosystem services, so the conservation of permaculture has become one of the most important issues on worldwide sustainability. In 2000 Convention on Biological Diversity introduces the concept of agricultural biodiversity conservation and coins into “Programme of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity” (PoW AgBD), and in 2010 the contents of the Satoyama Initiative are recruited, which in term promotes to the integration of conservation on agricultural biodiversity, traditional culture, and local community development in recent years. In response, setting up appropriate indexes to monitor agricultural biodiversity has become one of the main goals in Conservation on Biological Diversity (COP).
In Taiwan, farmlands account for about 1/4-1/5 of the whole island, a considerable large area which is hard to ignore for sustainable development. However, the expansion of urbanization as well as fragmentation of farmlands induce lower biodiversity and arise many environmental issues in Taiwan. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the ecosystem and related services of farmland in Taiwan find out useful information to Taiwan permaculture and therefore increase the biodiversity of farmlands. To address this issue, the program sets up 4 frameworks and integrates 7 mini-programs for achievement. The four frameworks include:
A. Promote the landscape diversity and its resilience in farmland;
B. Increase both biodiversity and ecosystem services of paddy fields by habitat development
C. Enhance the local community's development and management
D. Proceed the synchronization of governmental policies and international trends of permaculture.
The seven mini-projects include:
By practicing the seven mini-programs the program will investigate index species, health of water system, microclimate, and the sustainable management of eco-, socio-, and economical aspects of paddy fields and develop appropriate innovative policies and practices in Taiwan. In the meantime, the program also compare both permacultural policies of Taiwan and other countries and provide importance references for future policies on sustainability in Taiwan.
The current results of the program include:
This program recruit experts from diverse disciplines including geographic information, environmental engineering, agricultural production, planning and utilization of land resource, public communication and promotion, agricultural policy formulation, etc., and is a model for transdisciplinary cooperation in the sustainable development of rural ecology.
Sub-Project 1: Effects of landscape structure connectivity and farming practices on arthropod biological control in the rice fields
Prof. Yu-Pin Lin
There are more and more cases of promoting conservation-oriented biological control in Taiwan, and its effectiveness has been attracting more attention. In order to understand the effect of conservation-type biological control in rice fields in Yuanli area, this study used local arthropod survey data to analyze the composition and connectivity of the landscape around the target area and the impact of the farming practices used on arthropods in the rice field. Furthermore, the biological control effect of natural enemies under various crops and farming practices were also examined. In summary, our results suggested that organic farming practices is a more appropriate way to improve the biological control effect of parasitoids compared with conventional practices. Based on the outcomes of our research, suitable landscape management can be proposed and may serve as a reference for the development of conservation-oriented biological control.
Year One: Investigate the current situation of agricultural land resources and land fragmentation in Miaoli and Hualien areas, and use various landscape indexes for comparison and analysis. To study and analyze the diversity and abundance of pests and natural enemies in different landscapes or agricultural fields in Yuanli area of Miaoli.
Year Two: Investigate the impact of different agricultural methods on farmland biodiversity: combine the survey data provided by the sub-project of this integrated project to analyze. To study and analyze the diversity and abundance of pests and natural enemies in different farming methods in Changhua Erlin area, and compare with Miaoli area.
Year Three: Verification of the first three phases of research results based on the survey data of Changhua Erlin. Establish index species that reflect differences in agricultural methods.
Year Four: Cooperate and exchange with the LEGATO project, invite foreign scholars to evaluate the ecological services (ESS) and functions (ESF) of the farmland landscape in Miaoli, and exchange their evaluation techniques through exchanges and discussions. Conduct international eco-agricultural policy and strategy research and analysis, including eco-agricultural policy, key strategic principles, scientific research foundation, socio-economic environment background and promotion methods, etc.
Sub-Project 2: International policies and strategies on permaculture
Prof. Yu-Pin Lin
Relevant research and practical work on the research and development of agricultural biodiversity indicators and the impact of farming measures on the biodiversity of rice fields in Taiwan are still lacking, and further research is needed. One of the application of indicator species of agricultural biodiversity is the fragmentation of farmland landscape and habitat due to urbanization, and the indicator species can be used to evaluate the soundness of ecosystem service functions of rice fields, and then develop innovations suitable for local agriculture. Strategies and actions, supplemented by analysis of water quality, measurement and analysis of farmland microclimate environment, and discussion of ecological, economic and social sustainable management issues are also important. At the same time, this plan also attempts to analyze and compare the international ecological agriculture policy to the integration and analysis. The results of the sub-projects can be used as a reference for our ecological agriculture policies or guidelines, so that the project can achieve the maximum benefits.
Year One: To search and sort out the policies related to ecological agriculture and/or ecosystem services in main agricultural countries in the world.
Year Two: To analyze and unify similiar policies related to ecological agriculture and/or ecosystem services in main agricultural countries in the world.
Year Three: To update and keep follow the policies related to ecological agriculture and/or ecosystem services in main agricultural countries in the world.
Year Four: To provide practical policies and/or suggestions related to ecological agriculture and/or ecosystem services to our government for further information.
Sub-Project 3: Sustainable development of rural water environment and water quality assurance
Prof. Chihhao Fan
As the society develops with modern technology advancement, the environmental pollution impact becomes more diverse and complex. Without proper treatment, the industrial waste water can severely deteriorate the water resources for agriculture as well as alter the existing rural ecosystem, posing threats to the agricultural environment. The excellent irrigation water quality is the key to promote agricultural production and assure ecological balance. Investigation collecting water samples at the inlet, middle and outlet of the conventional and organic farmlands. The analytical results from different sampling time were compared to assess the variation in irrigation water quality. Meanwhile, water quality simulation was conducted to forecast the quality variation of irrigation water. Combining the results of water quality monitoring and simulation, the variation in irrigation water quality can be predicted and the agricultural productivity can be improved if the appropriate control measures are implement effectively. The objectives of this four-year sub-project are as follows:
Year One: Basic data survey and analysis of water quality improvement strategies. The information obtained will be simulated by computer to help develop the best feasible water quality improvement implementation strategy, rural environment, and water environment to improve the quality of irrigation water.
Year Two: Continuous sampling and analysis of environmental basic data, rolling revision and construction of computer simulation water quality models. Linking the relationship between water environmental quality and agricultural production to developing feasible strategies for improving agricultural productivity.
Year Three: Based on the results of experiments and surveys in the previous two years. The results of the assessment of ecosystem services and functions in Miaoli were revised.
Year Four: Continue to sample and analyze basic environmental data. Based on the research results in the previous stage, rational use of energy and resource integration technology, reconstruction of the material flow cycle micro-system, and development of rural development strategies.
Sub-Project 4: Survey of the Diversity and Abundance of Arthropods in Rice Paddies and Identification of Indicator Species of Organic Farming
Associate Prof. Chi-Wei Tsai
Organic farming has been paid more and more attention, and there have been many studies discussing the correlation between organic farming operations and biodiversity of farmland. Rice is the major crop with the largest cultivation area in Taiwan. In the researches of rice agricultural ecosystem, the rice paddies with organic farming operations have higher biodiversity than the rice paddies with conventional farming operations; there were more natural enemies in organic fields than in conventional fields, thereby restraining the increase of rice pests. It suggests that the organic farming operations preserve natural enemies in the rice paddies and then the populations of rice pests are suppressed. In addition to agricultural operation, the selection of crops and fertilizers, weed management of ridges, hedgerows, and surrounding land use may also affect the biodiversity of farmland. The objectives of this four-year sub-project are as follows:
Year One: Establish the survey of diversity and abundance of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan. Examine the effect of agricultural operation and landscape on arthropod diversity and abundance in rice paddies.
Year Two: Perform the survey of diversity and abundance of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan. Examine the effect of agricultural operation and landscape on arthropod diversity and abundance in rice paddies. Construct a database of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan.
Year Three: Perform the survey of diversity and abundance of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan. Examine the effect of agricultural operation and landscape on arthropod diversity and abundance in rice paddies. Construct a database of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan.
Year Four: Confirm the effect of agricultural operation and landscape on arthropod diversity and abundance in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan using four-year data. Construct a database of arthropods in rice paddies in Miaoli, Taiwan. Identify the indicator species of organic farming.
Sub-Project 5: Quantify and promote the ecosystem service (biocontrol) provided by generalist arthropod predators in rice paddies
Associate Prof. Chuan-Kai Ho
Farm land provides important habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services (e.g., biocontrol) for human beings. Aiming to understand biocontrol mechanisms and promote biocontrol effectiveness in rice paddies, this study will a) use stable isotope analyses to quantify the diet composition of biocontrol agents (i.e., generalist arthropod predators), b) conduct feeding experiments to estimate biocontrol efficacy, c) identify abiotic and biotic factors that affect biocontrol service, and d) apply habitat management to promote biocontrol mechanisms in rice paddies. This study is conducted over rice growth stages and landscapes in both organic and conventional farms, allowing us to examine how crop growth season, landscape, and farming practice affect biocontrol mechanisms and service. The objectives of this study are listed below:
Year One: Quantify the diet composition of generalist arthropod predators using stable isotopes.
Year Two: Conduct feeding experiments to estimate biocontrol efficacy.
Year Three: Identify the effect of microclimate, farming practice, rice growth stage, landscape, and pest population size on biocontrol service.
Year Four: Apply habitat management to promote biocontrol service.
Sub-Project 6: Long-term microclimate measuring and monitoring in the paddy fields
Associate Prof. Kuo-Tsang Huang
The cultivation methods used in paddy fields, either organic farming or traditional farming method, may result in various micro climatic effects on the environment. The subtle climatic changes may also influence the ecological balance in the paddy fields. The objectives of this study are: 1) To identify the climatic differences between the organic and the traditional farming paddy fields. 2) To quantify the carbon dioxide discharges in both types of paddy fields. 3) To study the influences of the micro climatic changes have on to the ecological balance in the paddy fields. To this end, this project investigates the microclimate of paddy fields by conducting in-situ long-term measurements. The climatic monitoring variables include the dry bulb temperature, the global horizontal radiation, the relative humidity, and the carbon dioxide flux of the paddy field. The result shows that the fluctuation of the carbon dioxide flux in the organic farming paddy field is less than that of the traditional one, suggesting the organic cultivation method is more capable of regulating the CO2 discharge. We also observed that the diurnal temperature is lower and the nocturnal temperature is slightly higher in the organic fields than those observed in the traditionally cultivated paddy fields, revealing a regulating effect of the microclimate, which in turn may affect the insect’s ecological balance among the paddy fields. Furthermore, the established microclimate database is served as fundamental data to support related environmental studies of the other sub-projects.
Year One: To identify the climatic differences between the organic and the traditional farming paddy fields.
Year Two: To quantify the carbon dioxide discharges in both types of paddy fields.
Year Three: To study the influences of the micro climatic changes have on to the ecological balance in the paddy fields.
Year Four: To investigate the microclimate of paddy fields by conducting in-situ long-term measurements.
Sub-Project 7: The evaluation of cultural ecosystems services for rural mosaic landscapes : A case of promoting Organic Farming in Yuanli Township.
Associate Prof. Li-Pei Peng
A. The annual tasks were proposed to extend the results in fiscal year 108 that was tend to process a collaborative platform formally into procedures. Following the model of Fuxing and Xinshe villages, the core members involved the Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, the Northern Region Branch of Agriculture and Food Agency, the Hsinchu Forest District Office. In fiscal year 109, this study aimed to conduct in-depth interviews for deepening the connection with core members and trying to trigger the participation of the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.
B. Considering the difficulties of eco-agriculture extension and leading to the operable suggestions directly, it is necessary to include the stakeholders from private sectors and local farmers' representatives. The prior concept is to assist the establishment of ‘core members meeting’ this year for potential setting of collaborative governance model for eco-agriculture extension.
C. Based on the preliminary results of the establishment of collaboration platform among multi-stakeholders, the actual benefits and its difficulties for practical implementation are discussed. This study invited relevant scholars and experts to hold a focus group workshop for review, analysis and suggestions for future research.
Year One: This year’s plan uses interviews and workshops to understand local farmers’evaluation of the social value of the farmland in Miaoli Gardens. They pay more attention to the education and learning, ecological conservation, and recreational value of rice fields. However, farmers still tend to choose channels. Mainly based on the original channels. Farmers engaged in "conventional" production are accustomed to handing rice to grain merchants, implying that "organic" farmers may have more market opportunities in the development of their own channels.
Year Two: This year’s plan is to take three phases of action research to explore the difference between conventional and organic rice farmers: first semi-structured interviews with 14 rice farmers, and then AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process, AHP) interviews with eight rice production and marketing team leaders. ) Expert questionnaire survey and analysis; Finally, 25 rice farmers were invited to participate in the workshop held in August 2007 to exchange opinions between the monitor and the rice farmers. The AHP questionnaire in the second stage was answered from the perspective of the rice production and marketing team leader, and the analysis results were generated on the spot. Through the confirmation of different aspects, dimensions, indicators and other priorities, they were used as the basis for the discussion of the third stage focus discussion, leading the participation Friends expressed their agreement with the results of the AHP survey and the reasons, in order to understand objective and specific suggestions for promoting organic agriculture. The results of the focus discussion in the third stage showed that the participating farmers all agreed that "organic agriculture" had a higher weight value than "friendly agriculture", and that "customary agriculture" had the lowest weight value. The reason for the agreement is that food safety not only affects consumer health, but also affects consumer health. Its willingness to buy. The big difference in the argument lies in the marketing aspect. In addition to the different levels of trust in the sales channels of individual farmers, they also hold different views on whether their own brands can bring profits. Most farmers in the garden still choose to sell rice harvest to grain merchants to avoid possible market risks, while self-owned brands are relatively rare.
Year Three: This project year uses a three-phase action study to explore the feasibility of establishing a cross-domain collaboration platform in Yuanli. First, adopt semi-structured interviews to interview stakeholders of ecological agriculture rights in Miaoli Yuanli to understand the development and needs of ecological agriculture in Yuanli; secondly, use workshops to understand the collaboration platform to gather multiple stakeholders such as public authorities and communities. Issues such as willingness to participate together and work items. Point out the current ecological agriculture-related work items and spatial fields through the spatial questionnaire filled in by stakeholders, and then the hot areas of ecological agriculture are obtained through spatial overlay analysis; finally, a focus group discussion, through interaction with four experts and scholars, to share After mutual understanding of the experience and ideas in the construction of the collaboration platform, it was found that the construction of the Yuanli (Western) platform was not easy, because the divergence of the spatial field made the construction of the collaboration platform more difficult.
Year Four: This year’s plan still aims to build a collaboration platform. Through interviews with multiple stakeholders in the ecological agriculture collaboration platform, what kind of support and cooperation each unit will give to the two levels of "social-ecological support" and "production conditions", The interview results found that in the "social-ecological level support" level: business units mainly provide agricultural technology, policy and other related courses, and they can also cooperate with related field courses in the future; private units are more diverse, mainly providing ecological guidance for farmers Agriculture-related knowledge, sharing of training experience in cooperation with local farmers, teaching farmers to independently record field management, assisting farmers in finding professional teams to solve problems, cooperating with related activity courses, etc.; farmers take cooperation in field ecological surveys and field farming activities as Mainly support projects. At the level of "production conditions": business units mainly focus on cultivating contract farmers and purchasing rice to provide farmers with production and sales channels; private units provide farmers with channels for selling products mainly through online platforms and event markets; farmers It is more necessary to obtain more sales channels through this platform, and use the interview results as the theme of the cross-domain collaboration platform explanation meeting for multiple stakeholders. Then, through expert focus seminars, we will learn about the issues and countermeasures of ecological agriculture promoted by the "social-ecological-production" aspect of Yuanli area, as well as the projects that can be mutually supported and negotiated between the central government, local enterprises and possible private units. Finally, it analyzes the areas that need to be improved in the construction of the western ecological agricultural cooperation platform, and analyzes the differences between the eastern and western ecological agricultural cooperation platforms.
This project recruits several experts from diverse disciplines including geographic information, environmental engineering, agricultural production, planning and utilization of land resource, public communication and promotion, agricultural policy formulation, etc., and could be a model project for transdisciplinary cooperation in the sustainable development of rural ecology. By practicing the seven sub-projects, the main project investigated index species, health of water system, microclimate, and the sustainable management of eco-, socio-, and economical aspects of paddy fields and develop appropriate innovative policies and practices in Taiwan. In the meantime, the project also compares both permacultural policies of Taiwan and other countries and provide importance references for future policies on sustainability in Taiwan.
Related Achievement (Also please see the incorporated PDF file for more detail):
J.-A. Ou, G.-C. Hsu, C.-K. Ho. 2018. Oral Presentation: Effects of farming practice and landscape on arthropod food web structure and biocontrol in rice paddies. Ecological Society of Japan Annual Meeting, March 14-18, Sapporo, Japan.
Gen-Chang Hsu, Jia-Ang Ou, and Chuan-Kai Ho. Pest consumption by generalist arthropod predators increases with crop stage in both organic and conventional farms. Ecosphere. Revision.
Y.-C. Liou ,L.-P. Peng*, 2020, Exploring Morphological Structure of Production Network for Promoting Eco-agriculture [Conference presentation] : A Study of Yuanli, Miaoli. Rural development and agricultural land resources. 2020 12th Urban and Rural Management Conference, Chinese Culture University.
GLP Methods: Interdisciplinary methods, Modelling, Social network analysis