Caofeidian’s Recovery of Wetland Resources: The Survival of the Common People Should be Included in the Overall Arrangement and Innovative System Design | CBCGDF Research Department Field Investigation (II)

As he recalled, the contractor in the 6th team got compensation for conservation occupation since the terrible productive condition, that is, weeds grew everywhere.  However, the locals in other places got nothing and kept illegal behavior including cultivation and aquaculture in the conservation.


In 2013, a large number of petitioners from 7th and other farms assembled at the gate of the local government because of the overall de-farming policy in the area of conservation which slashed the basic source of income for the locals.


To settle down the dispute, the former principals of Caofeidian District Government and other departments held a conference and decided to give 11K acres wetland back to workers in 7th farm plus 20K acres as followed. The extra 20K acres, as written in the compensatory scheme, was just vanished. Never had I heard of it from then on!  What’s worse, 11K acres in the compensation scheme turned out that only 50 acres were available since the pool included was over 400 acres and covered a large area. To cope with it, we had to set a united contract to pay the yearly rent with household registers from each family and raise enough funds to pay the utilities for ourselves Zheng said. And what is new is that, during this period, farmers are not supposed to drill and erect the electric grids.


In 2017, during this period, it was after the Green Shield Action implemented by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the Peoples Republic of China that China began to enhance the protection and management of conservation especially the wetland in it. Caofeidian District Government carried out the five-year policy of ” de-farming and wetland cultivation”. Similar to the treatment of other farms, part of the area in the 7th farm was again divided into the wetland zoned as conservation. When it was again contracted out to the public in the spring of this year, the wetland area in confliction is reduced to nearly 8000 acres.


(Photo credit: CBCGDF volunteers)


In this spring, based on the continuous concern of issues on Caofeidian wetland ecosystem, CBCGDF Research found that, despite nearly 15-year practice on local conservation, its core area recklessly kept on renting fishponds, and that this misdeed had already done much harm to wetland ecosystem, birds’ migration, and sustainable development. CBCGDF therewith publicly criticized this fault, which soon afterward exhibited effective as the rent in the core area had been finished. Everything ends where it starts. I mean, after that prohibition, we still have no land, no settlement, no compensation. Compared to what happened in 2013, things nowadays just go in the same way. And that’s the most worrying point, said a man born in local farms with over 30-year cultivation practice. And many people shared the same apprehension.


As one impartible item included in wetland protection, the survival and development of local civilians should be taken into its overall arrangement.


As of April dawns, the migratory birds returning from the north have arrived and then left Caofeidian wetland one after another.


Similar to the migratory birds, most of the original workers whose work schedule is based on natural laws of agriculture, are quite anxious now.


“Due to the prohibition on sowing in the spring, then we reap nothing in the autumn. Now that the fishponds cultivation was no longer available, we just lost all the sources of land and income. Without projects in the core area, what shall we do for a living? said Zheng Fuyou, a 58-year-old worker in the 7th farm who will retire in 2 or 3 years. He added that he can’t even afford the pension program without any source of income. Owning around 70-80 acres area for fishponds cultivation- embargoed due to the closed-off management in core area- he can’t count on personal fishery anymore.


“We have no objection to de-farming and wetland conservation. On the contrary, we are also willing to do something helpful. However, the government should have taken our living settlement into consideration after we agreed to stop relevant projects in core area”, said an old farmworker. For the locals, the wetland conservation outweighs their own eyeballs, because the wetland is their only home. They don’t want to do anything harmful to it.


(Photo credit: CBCGDF volunteers)


With sweat and toil, our fathers explored this area. Some got bloodstains on their shoulders and some had to plant reeds in waist-deep cold water in cold days, said an old worker. As for the full-scale acquisition of the wetland in farms, the best hope of the local civilians is that the government should take their interests into consideration and hold justice.


In fact, although migratory birds come and go every year, this land they step on had experienced so many changes. We had witnessed environmental variation from saline wasteland covering thousands of kilometers in the early stage to massive planting of reeds and rice and cultivation of fishponds. Besides changes in the ecological landscape, the population there had increased by more than 33 times.


For instance, the total population of Caofeidian in 1956 is 8156. This number has changed to 252169 by 2011.


Original Chinese article:

By / Jin Zhihao Modified / Maggie



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