Lu Zhongxian, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, China,
Zhu Zengrong, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou China, and
K.L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
Ecological engineering (EE) approaches to restore biodiversity and increase ecosystem services to enhance pest management and reduce insecticide use are being out scaled into more counties in China. Began in Jin Hua county EE in 2008 growing sesame plants around rice fields. Later EE was launched in San Men in May 22, 2012. Through EE farmers in Hejia village learned about natural enemies and ways to conserve them and have been not been using insecticide or fungicide. A book published by Zhejiang University on Ecological Engineering for Pest Management in Rice (in Chinese) describes the details. In China’s 2013 national plant protection strategy issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing EE is now included as a means for sustainable plant protection.
In Jiangxi province the county of Wannian held a meeting to discuss about the EE initiative. In Wannian are two historical rice heritage sites, the GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Sites) in Heqiao village and 2 archeological sites with evidences of a 12,000 year old rice culture, believed to be the oldest known origin of rice, were unearthed, Xianrendong and Diatonghuan. Mr Zheng Gaoqin, the Party secretary of Wannian county welcomed the EE initiative saying that it fits into the county’s efforts to produce quality rice called “Wan Nian Gong Mi” (royal rice). Around the GIAHS village of Heqiao with rich habitat and floral biodiversity are farmers growing hybrid rice obtaining 7 tons/ha and had never used insecticides.
Another county, Huzhou, in Zhejiang Province, has organized an ecological engineering site in Yin Jia Xu village, Ba Li Dian Town, Wu Xin district, where rice fields will be surrounded by Abelia and sesame. The Deputy Director of the Agricultural Bureau of Huzhou Mr Shen Hong-Xing, organized a half day seminar inviting Dr K.L. Heong as the guest speaker.
In Jiaxing county, ecological engineering is used in the design of the new state own farm of Organic Agriculture. The farm located in Ba Zi Qiao village is about 500 ha and the bunds surrounding the rice fields are planted with Abelia and sesame. The irrigation canals are specially constructed to provide cavities to encourage frogs as predators. Mr Cheng Qi-Liang, the Director General in charge of this project said that there will be increasing demands for organic foods in the next 5 years, especially from the big cities, like Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou and Jiaxing is strategically located.
Xiaoshan county started experimenting with ecological engineering in 2012. In 2013 EE will be extended to about 300 ha in 2 sites. In one of the sites, frogs will be introduced to enhance predation. Growing of sesame will begin in May.