Lu Zhongxian, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, China
Chen Guihua, Zhu Pingyang, Plant Protection Services, Jin Hua, Zhejiang, China
M.M. Escalada, Visayas State University, Leyte, Philippines, and
K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
The first ecological engineering (EE) experiment was conducted in Jin Hua in a farmer’s field. We found that rice fields with sesame grown on the bunds had higher natural enemies. A couple of season later frog populations increased markedly. In laboratory experiments, we found that the searching efficiency of the egg parasitoid increased when presented with sesame flowers. To further introduce the EE concepts to the academe, policy makers and practitioners, several workshops were held. In September 2010 a national seminar and field day was held in Jin Hua covered by the local TV and on May 22, 2012 International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), San Men County launched their ecological engineering efforts.
Siping village near where the EE experiment was conducted is fast becoming a popular weekend destination for tourists and school children interested in visiting old villages (gu cun) where many of the houses, wells, parks and tombs remain intact. The old house being used to exhibit pictures on ancient China has historical value as it used to belong to the Kuomintang, according to Dr. Zhang Ming Sheng, Vice Director, ZAAS. Jin Hua government provided space, facilities and funds to establish the “Biodiversity Museum” as a learning center for tourists and school children. Here the ADB-IRRI Planthopper Project, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) and Jin Hua local government established exhibits to illustrate biodiversity in rice ecosystems with pictures and specimens. The Biodiversity Museum was declared open in a simple ceremony by vice mayor Ms Lin Danjun together with officials from the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Agriculture, ZAAS and IRRI.
In conjunction with the opening event a symposium on EE was held with speakers from Australia (Professor Geoff Gurr), IRRI (Dr K.L Heong), Vietnam (Dr Ho Van Chien), Philippines (Dr M.M. Escalada), ZAAS (Dr Lu Zhongxian), Zhejiang University (Dr Zhu Zengrong), NATSEC (Ms Gou Rong) and Guilin. An active discussion followed and established a general consensus that insecticide use in rice fields of China is excessive and such practices are not sustainable. EE can be a new approach towards sustainable pest management but would need to be further evaluated, discussed and communicated to both policy makers as well as farmers. There is also need for structural reform to establish balance in polices that will provide a “roof” to protect ecological practices.
A video in Chinese discussing ecological engineering, experiments n Jin Hua, parasitoids and predators in action was produced and it can be accessed in China through Youku and Youtube. Or you can watch the video right here: