Review on Curriculum Practice丨Into the Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park

On October 22, Professor Li Binbin led the students of the Natural Resources and Conservation Management course to Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park, near Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province, to conduct their first field investigation. The learners started a four-day study and research activity in the reserve. They experienced the daily tasks of the reserve management, and gained a deeper understanding of both national park management and ecological protection research.

This study trip was mainly divided into three modules: expert forums, field community surveys, and field sample observations.

Part 01 Expert Forum

At the Gutian Mountain Visitor Center, Deputy Director Wang Changlin of Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park Administration used the protection and development of Qianjiangyuan as an example, focusing on how to handle the relationship between human and nature. As a national forest park, Qianjiangyuan is mainly vertically managed by the provincial government. At the same time, however, Qianjiangyuan combined its policies with those of the local community to achieve coordination of district administration, which was highly praised on a national level. Deputy Director Wang said that this system is fundamental to success. Without the support of the government’s party committee, it is difficult to achieve a park’s protection goals.

In addition to the constructive administrative system, the national forest park’s innovative mountain farmland easement establishes a compensation incentive mechanism to service the ecosystem.  In the economic realm, the aboriginal people can continue to operate and grow cash crops such as camellia, but they must sign an agreement to prove that the scope of their farming is feasible and does not damage the ecosystem before they can get compensation. The easement stipulates that pesticides and fertilizers are not allowed, and residents are compensated 200 yuan (CNY) per mu for fields which meet this requirement. At the same time, by purchasing their services, the government has the ability to guid the market. For example, the organic rice grown by residents can yield 300 kg per mu (2.25 yuan/kg), and the net profit can reach 2500 yuan.

In part because of the above measures, local residents highly support Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park. The government is also actively creating jobs for locals, such as training locals as tour guides, or actively developing homestays to stimulate the tourism industry while promoting economic growth in the surrounding area.

Part 02 Field Community Research

After listening to a few seminars, the students were now clear about the basic situation and began to ask residents about any remaining doubts. Through interviews, everyone learned that in Qixi Village, for example, there are more than 700 residents in the village who are very mobile. After the implementation of the easement, although the people received a certain amount of economic compensation, there were frequent animal accidents in the farmland, which affected the economic benefits of the crops. For example, wild boar, as an omnivorous animal, destroys a lot of farmland in order to eat. Corn, rice fields, sweet potatoes, tea, etc. are often damaged. Although the government has cooperated with insurance companies to compensate for animal accidents (at least 200 yuan for damage), the villagers often may not receive that compensation because the damage amount is not enough or because the insurance process is too cumbersome. Many students were very concerned about this issue and planned to investigate further.

Part 3 Observation of field samples

In addition to qualitative research, the students also went deep into the forest and collected samples for their groups. The class was divided into three groups, and each group selected a 20×20 meter sample and investigated the vegetation and animal traces in it. With the help of Professor Binbin, the students measured the slope, aspect, habitat type, forest type, arbor canopy closure and other parameters in an orderly manner for their investigation. During the sample preparation, many students also observed the white pheasant activities in the mountains and even found snakes.

Part 04 Student Testimonials

1.Zhang Jie, Master of Environmental Policy, Class of 2022 student

Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, especially today when the global environment is under threat, I am honored to have the opportunity to explore the world’s window into the subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park with teachers and students. I learned to distinguish tree species, plants and animals, and learn to carry out sample surveys. It made me realize that the theory taught in classrooms can be carried out in such a vivid form outside the classroom. I also exchanged ideas around the local rural easement reform with the local government and villagers. When faced with the contradiction between development and protection, we saw a different solution. This is not only another way of solving environmental issues, but also a way that promotes farmers’ incomes, showing local efforts for future easement reforms. TThe incentive system itself impressed me deeply throughout this practical exchange activity. This activity is not only full of joy, but also a learning journey. This experience has interested me more in nature protection. I hope that more people will participate in natural environmental protection in the future!

2. Wang Ziyue Environmental Policy Master’s Program in Class of 2022

In this field survey, we had a discussion with Director Wang of Qianjiangyuan National Park Administration, and learned about the development process of Qianjiangyuan National Park. In this process, innovative measures such as farmland easement reform and wildlife accident compensation insurance have caused aroused the great interest of my classmates. In this field survey, I realized that the core of national park management is to properly handle the relationship between development and protection. The key is to realize the concept extolled by General Secretary Xi Jinping: “green water and green mountains are golden mountains and silver mountains”. At the same time, we also realized that the current good results of Qianjiangyuan National Park are based on a large amount of capital investment. It still needs further exploration whether its related successful experience can be widely promoted in the country.

3.Zhang Haoxu, Master of Environmental Policy, 2022 student

Through this investigation of Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park, I gained a deeper understanding of the guiding ideology and tremendous efforts made by our country in improving the ecological environment and improving people’s livelihood. The example of Qianjiangyuan National Forest Park fully proves that the national policy of “comprehensively protect but not massive development ” is a wise and objective pattern that must be followed in the process of economic development and ecological protection. Rare species such as the white-necked long-tailed pheasant and black muntjac have made their stunning appearances repetitively there, validating the principle of “ecology is prospering civilization”, and it also demonstrates the importance of “harmony between man and nature”. This principle is once again proved by the lively mountain range and the clean running streams, along with the increasing income level and happiness index of the villagers. From this perspective it also confirmed the law of social development that “a good ecological environment is the most inclusive of people’s livelihood”. I firmly believe that as long as we have a scientific attitude of governance and a rigorous work spirit, more and more “green belts” and “golden belts” will appear not only in the Yangtze River Basin, but also across the country!

Written by: Xu Huimin
Editor: Bi Yuhan
Photography: Xu Yingchen, Shen Guozhen
Translation: Tianwei Lin
Proofreading: Remington Gillis