Long Mountain ValleyVisit Shichangyu
Longmountain Valley, or in Chinese Shichangyu, is one the pilot site for a new concept of eco-tourism and sustainable living. The village, though small in size with only 12 inhabitants, shows great promise for sustainable development. Being part of the APFNet project, Shichangyu will receive special attention for its sustainable development.
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Long Mountain Valley
Connection to Regional Sustainability Challenges
Long Mountain Valley is part of the Miyun watershed that delivers water to the Miyun reservoir. This reservoir is the largest source of drinking water for the city of Beijing, supplying millions of people. The most important natural filters of water are the surrounding forests in the area. If the forests are too disturbed by human activity, their filtration ability decreases significantly. But keeping the forests healthy requires for the people living right next to them to have sufficient livelihoods. If their energy consumption, especially in form of fuelwood, is too high, the forest regeneration, which forms the next generation of the forests there and the first generation of natural secondary forests, will disappear or be heavily impaired. Providing Kang beds contributes to the sustainable use of the forest, which in exchange will more effectively work as a water filter.
The current main livelihood is the walnut production around the village. BFS helped the villages plant hectares of new orchards to improve their production. As these walnut trees are still too young, though, the local NTFPs to be found in the mountains are also representing an important income source. The incomes in this village are amongst the lowest in the region as the village is also rather remote and has a harder time accessing the bigger market. All livestock is kept for personal use and not to sell products. Previously the livelihoods of the local villagers have been improved through the installation of energy-efficient Kang beds in the villages, partially crowd-founded through Earthdeeds. Also a water tank was installed in order to catch rain water more efficiently.
Local Non-Timber Forest Products
Dateplum Persimmon (Diospyros lotus)
Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida)
Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata)
David Peach (Prunus davidiana)
Sour Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba var. spinosa)
Kang BedsThe Kang bed is a heated sleeping platform widely used in villages in northern China. The heat from a stove is directed through flues under the bed, and used to heat its surface. Based on previous experiences Kang beds can reduce fuelwood use by an average of 36% (or 850 kg) per bed per year, representing a cost saving of RMB 1,170 or US$172. The energy-efficient Kang beds also generate more heat (about 1-2° during the cold winter months), as well as reducing reliance on local indigenous fuelwood species (particularly Mongolian oak) and increasing the use of farm waste (mainly corn cobs). If a village of 200 households upgrades its Kang beds, it can it can achieve carbon dioxide emissions reductions of 244t Co2 (worth between US$854 and US$1,953).
Only one of the inhabitants is below 40 years old, a young girl that hasn’t married, yet. All the other daughters and sons have moved away into neighboring villages because of the better income and job opportunities. BFS hopes that with the new sustainable livelhoods and eco-tourism the village will once again become attractive to its original inhabitants.
Portrait of a Family
Mr. Zhang and Mrs. Zhang Shihua. The two children have moved out by now, the son is a middle school teacher and the daughter the wife of a farmer in a nearby village. Mr. Zhang earns most of his income by selling walnuts, apricots and hawthorn. They own 3 geese, 6 chickens and one donkey. Both hope that with the further development of ecotourism in the region their livelihoods can be raised and new people can be attracted. Both have been living in the village for over 40 years.
Shichangyu lies in a stunning valley surrounded by native vegetation. While the vegetation is degraded in certain parts, it nevertheless shows a great variety of plants that occur there: The Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), Bunge Ash (Fraxinus bungeana), the Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) and the China Toona (Toona sinensis) are just a few of the trees found in the region in addition to the NTFP trees.
BFS is focusing on two main projects in Longmountain valley. One is the extension and refinement of the hiking paths through the surrounding mountains. The other, bigger project is the building of a forest experience center in the village. This center will be used to educate visitors more on the local natural conditions, the importance of the Miyun watershed in general and how they can be more sustainable. The center will furthermore be a hub for guided hiking tours and helping to organize whole day trips. Finally, BFS will also help villagers to develop other important eco-tourism facilities like restaurants or pensions.
Long Mountain Valley is on its way to become the new forest education & experience center. Read about its progress.