Project Background of Nature Conservation Management for Long Valley

 

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Nature Conservation Management for Long Valley - Project Background

With the support from the HKSAR Government, local green groups, The Conservancy Association (CA) and The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS), began an agricultural wetland conservation management programme in Long Valley, Sheung Shui since 2005. The programme aims to conserve and enhance the biodiversity and ecological value of Long Valley through a series of wetland habitat management measures which favor wetland dependent species, especially birds and amphibians, with the cooperation with local farmers and stakeholders. Various wetland crops were also reintroduced such as Paddy Rice, Water Chestnut and Chinese Arrowhead, in order to increase the habitat heterogeneity. Restoration of paddy field is especially successful that some rare migratory species like buntings which were used to appeare in rice field have become common and regularly recorded. Planting of paddy rice has also brought unexpected feedback from local community and served as a good chance for environment education as well. This shows a positive impact on promoting conservation of agricultural wetland in Hong Kong.

After implementation of the programme, 314 bird species are recorded in Long Valley, species richness has increased 35% since 2006. Globally endangered species such as Black-faced Spoonbill, Yellow-breasted Bunting, etc. were also regularly seen in Long Valley. Research also found that some freshwater wetland dependence birds such as Wood Sandpiper and Bluethroat have higher abundance than those in Mai Po. Since the restoration of paddy field in 2009, the number of the IUCN critically endangered Yellow-breasted Bunting has increased slowly to 68 individuals (2014). Number of bunting species has also increased to 16 species. On the other hand, 10 amphibian species, which is about 42% of amphibians in Hong Kong, have been recorded in Long Valley including Chinese Bullfrog (State Key Protected Wildlife in China). These showed the achievement of the programme as well as the ecological importance of agricultural wetland to wildlife in Hong Kong.

Environmental education is also one of the most important element of the project. A wide variety of activities about wetland ecology, birds and farming are organised such as eco-tour, talk, exhibition, farming experience, invasive species removal etc so that students and general public could learn and experience Long Valley in different angle. Recent years, agriculture in Hong Kong keeps shrinking. The management project also promotes eco-friendly agriculture and pass the message of "support local ecology by supporting local farm products" to the public.

 

New Nature Conservation Policy

HKSAR Government announced the New Nature Conservation Policy in November, 2004. The policy has included a list of 12 Priority Sites for enhanced conservation. NGOs and corporates are encouraged to promote nature conservation at these sites via two management models: Management Agreement (MA) and Public-Private Partnership (PPP). "Long Valley and Ho Sheung Heung" is one of the priority sites.

Please refer to AFCD website for more detail about New Nature Conservation Policy:

https://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/con_nncp/con_nncp.html

 

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