Thursday, May 03, 2012

Eroding Taiwan

A friend of mine passed this around Facebook today (link). This is a picture of Jingguan Village in Nantou. Farmed slopelands erode spectacularly in Taiwan's powerful rainfall events; the picture shows the resultant effects. Taiwan's gov't is pursuing the conflicting policy of developing marginal slopelands while paying for land to lie fallow. As I wrote in a post on paddy fields last year:
In Taiwan the government runs a set-aside program for farmland under which large quantities of farmland lie fallow. In some years the amount set aside exceeds the amount planted in rice (!). This program has come under much criticism, since sometimes farmland becomes unusable after being set aside and land lying uncared for invites pests that affect nearby farms. This results in abandoned land, 50,000 hectares by one 2004 estimate. When land leaves the market, it drives up the price of remaining land, pushing up rents -- and many farmers are renters, not owners. Further, for many observers it makes little sense to set aside good farmland in the lowlands while permitting farming on slopes. The set aside program is also driven by shortages of water, diverted for industrial and residential needs. Everything is exacerbated by the lack of government oversight and monitoring, a persistent problem in all areas of government policy in Taiwan.
The result of all this is graphically demonstrated by the image above.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ching Jing Farm and surrounding Huhuan mountains are all bald now.

Next Yu Shan will become a massive tea plantation like Ali Shan.

Very sad.

Jerome Troy