Letters | Let Japanese model show Hong Kong the natural way forward
- Hong Kong needs well-preserved natural spaces, not another purely commercial project or white elephant
- The Satoyama Initiative is the perfect reference model for Hong Kong to revive countryside land
The Satoyama Initiative, a Japanese concept of a rural land-use system based on sustainable conservation has been adopted by countries around the world since 2010. This model aims to sustainably nurture “societies in harmony with nature”.
It aims to enhance socio-economic activities on a local scale through a three-fold approach: first, consolidating wisdom on securing diverse ecosystem services and values; second, integrating traditional ecological knowledge and modern science to promote innovations; third, exploring new forms of co-management systems or evolving frameworks of “commons” while respecting traditional communal land tenure.
For instance, abandoned farmland was restored using eco-farming methods, species reintroduction, cultural rehabilitation and transport improvement. The programme has eventually rehabilitated five hectares of farmland for agriculture, revitalised biodiversity in the area, and repopulated the village.
Lai Chi Wo has also become an educational hub for youngsters to experience farm and village life.
Nonetheless, the success of this particular programme owes much to its objective of sustainable use of natural resources and preservation of the traditional Hakka cultural resources. By revitalising the local culture and ecosystem, the local economy was able to rise again and run sustainably.
Hong Kong needs well-preserved natural spaces, not more purely commercial project. The Satoyama Initiative is the perfect reference model for Hong Kong to revive countryside land in Kau Sai Chau, Ap Chau and Tap Mun into valuable assets. To achieve this, the support of NGOs and social enterprises is essential to promote the concept of a balanced human relationship with nature.
Anson Chan, undergraduate student, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto