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Habitat regeneration in Wolong nature reserve  RSS feed

 
Justin Grothe
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Hello all you Permies out there. Keep up the good work! We WILL change the world...

I am volunteering at the Wolong giant Panda reserve 2.5hrs out of Chengdu, China.
I only arrived 4 days ago but have already begun meeting the local farmers.
This place is a very important site for reintroduction of Pandas into the wild. Since the 2008 earthquake, the locals have done a lot of rebuilding and spirits are high here. Alas the Gov has basically abandoned the place and so local farmers do what they can to survive. They mostly grow Gov issued GE corn, potatoes etc. Also they graze stock into the remaining forests and the biodiversity of the place is dwindling. The introduced Japanese Larch is monoculturing and taking over as well. So you see much to do...

I was wanting to connect with anyone in China who has a passion for restoration, Pandas, organic farming and more who could offer some advice, come up and help me communicate (I do not speak Mandarin unfortunately) YET, or otherwise help create a positive solution to the above probs...

Thanks for listening
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Justin, sounds like a great adventure. Keep us updated on your journey!
 
Thomas Sommer
Posts: 13
Location: China
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Hey Justin

I'm co-founding a permaculture education project, Hangzhou Permaculture, about 3 hours from Shanghai. We're just getting started here too, but I think we could help eachother out. You could translate.google our webpage, HZPumen.com, for more info. We plan on translating lots of information about permaculture, organic gardening, ecosans, biochar and many related topics by the end of the year.

There was recently a Permaculture Course in Cheng'du. Have you met up with any of the students? I'm sure they would be VERY interested in helping. Otherwise, find a way to advertise for volunteers. We have had some come all the way from Chengdu, a 12 hour train ride. Volunteer opportunities here are sparse and the resources are abundant. I wish we had more housing available!

Like you, we struggle with locals using protected forest resources at very unsustainable rates, without giving anything back. Nothing has seemed to work yet, but the local government has sponsored us to buy a big sign that says "Permaculture in Progress. Stay out. These are protected experimental grounds. Enter without permission and the police will deal with you accordingly." Not very socially sustainable, but hopefully that will do something. Despite the negativity of it all, many people DO respect us for trying to heal the land rather than pouring chemicals on it. People often tell us it's impossible and we're wasting our time, but they keep coming back to check on our progress.

As for plastic burning, as you mentioned in your other thread (why two threads?), we found it was mostly the people responsible for trucking the garbage away that were burning the plastic. There are strict laws against it, so we just filmed them then told them we will go straight to the authorities if we see them doing it again. That was months ago and we haven't had a problem since. We do still have a problem with the elementary school next to us burning their garbage. I've talked to the guards and the people who usually hang around the outside, but it still happens once a month or so. The teachers come around the project often, I've just forgotten to mention it to them.

Traditional varieties are around, but they are quickly disappearing. We go to surrounding villages, make friends with the oldest people we can understand, then start asking about seeds. If they don't have them, they can probably get them for you. We've found a bit of local corn and squash and have some sichuan giant green onions. If they are successful, I'd be willing to trade some seeds for what you can find.

Take care
Thomas
 
Justin Grothe
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Hey Thomas, thanks for your response mate. The reason I have 2 threads going is I am a wee bit of a luddite and wasn't aware of correct procedure. All good now though as you have informed me hey...

I wasn't aware of a Permaculture course being held in Chengdu recently! I do go there a bit though so I reckon I could find out some things through my friends there...

The whole picture of farming in these very rural communities is so unbelievable when you consider that China and other Asian communities have been farming sustainably for far longer than any western nation. Something obviously happened to change that and whatever it is (I suspect the green revolution where the only green about it is the green in the companies pockets), it has got its claws into modern farming techniques and is an uphill battle to change. Tis a most worthy battle though I believe, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it...

Appreciate the seed exchange idea. If I get lucky I will let you know mate...
Anyway I have a load of emails to get through and just finished my day in the field so will leave it at that...

Will post another update soonish...

Cheers
Justin
 
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