Course:FRST270/Wiki Projects/Bamboo Forest management by the Bunun People in Yan Ping Township, Taiwan

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The Bunun tribe is one of the sixteen first nation tribe in Taiwan, they speak the Bunun language and are known to outsiders for their sophisticated polyphonic vocal music called the eight-part harmonic singing. The rough estimate of the population is around 57,630 in the year 2017.(Council of Indigenous People,2017) In the past, the Bunun tribe’s survival depends on hunting and agriculture. That created traditions that are unique to the group(Council of Indigenous People,2017). For example they have the Ear Festival and the millet harvesting song(Council of Indigenous People,2017). Through modernization one of the Bunun groups in YanPing Township has developed a recreational village to support themselves. One of the features of the village is their production of bamboo products(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). Through their environmental friendly management, they are able to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council in 2017, which is a huge milestone for the indigenous managed forest in Taiwan/ China region(Rainforest Alliance, 2017).

Traditional Bunun Tribe


Taiwan’s history is full of interesting events due to the different colonists that once colonized the place, which also brought changes to the communities first nations. There are sixteen groups of first nation tribes that have been recognized by the current government(Council of Indigenous People,2017). One of them is Bunun. “According to their oral history, According to their oral history, the Bunun people originally lived on the western plains of Taiwan, but they gradually moved to the mountains in Renai and Hsinyi Townships in Nantou County because of the invasion of the Han Chinese and conflicts among the Pinpu tribes on the Taichung plain. After they entered the Nantao mountain areas, they formed six tribes.(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d. )”The six tribes are Take-baka, Take-vatan, Bubukun, Take-todo, Take-banuan and Take-pulan(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.).

Geographical distribution

The population is distributed south to the central range(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.). “From the upper stream of the Jhuoshuei River in the north to the upper and middle parts of the Gaoping and Bainan Rivers in the south.”(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.) They occupy the current administrative divisions of ren ai, xin yi Township in Nantou County, Tauyuan District in Kaohsiung City, Yan-Ping Township, Haiduan Township, Jinfeng Township in Taitung County(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.). From ‘The Formosan native tribes a genealogical and classificatory study’ by Utsurikawa Nenozo, it states that the Bunun people originates from lamongan which is at the west side of the foot of the mountain, later they are being forced to live in the mountains due to the oppression by Han people(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.). That information is acquired from the unwritten stories of other tribes in Taiwan.Bunun villages were spread throughout mountain areas, but after the Japanese government implemented a mandatory group relocation policy, many villages were moved to lower and more accessible places so the colonial government could monitor them (Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.). The Bunun tribes initially lived on Jade Mountain (New High Mountain) and eventually relocate to other places according to the “Fan tsu tiao-ch'a pao-kao shu” Report on the Survey of Barbarian Tribes. “The group’s resettlement in the middle phase of the period of Japanese rule (1895-1945) is the last time that the Bunun dispersed and migrated on a large scale”(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.).


Different tribes tell different stories of the path of their migration due to the oppression of Han people. The origin of the people starts at a place called Lamongan; it is somewhere near Sheliao at the south bank of Zhuoshui Rive(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.)r.
(1)From Lamongan to Luandashe or hosikushe and pass Zhuoshui River. (According to the tribe of Takbanuaz, Takivatan, Takituduh)
(2)From Lamongan to the north side of Sun Moon Lake, than to Pulishe than Dazhuoshe and finally to asangdaingan. (According to Isbukun tribe)
(3)Walk along the Zhuoshui River to Dazhuoshe than to asangdaingan. (According to Isbukun tribe)

Social structure

Social structure The Bunun people live in a patrilineality society(Council of Indigenous People,2017). Each village contains different clans and clan members as their base of their social structure(Council of Indigenous People,2017). Each village may contain more than one clan due to a long history of migration. “Clan identity and structure are determined through blood relation, which shapes the unique, multi-layered self-cognition of the Bunun(Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous People, n.d.)." They respect elders highly and they are excellent hunters. There are three main leaders in a normal functioning village.
(1)A priest that host agricultural events: Predicts weather and solve conflicts within villege
(2)A person that host The Ear Festival: Usually is the most experienced hunter within the villege
(3)Political leader: Plan wars and headhunting. Commander during war times.

Tenure arrangements

The first nations in Taiwan had a long history of being oppressed by different governments such as the Japanese and Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang Party)(Events In Focus, n.d.). When Taiwan was under Japanese rule (1895~1945), a large amount of land ownership was fallen into the hands of Japanese people(Events In Focus, n.d.). After the Japanese rule, the lands are being used by the Chinese Nationalist Party for government agencies and State-owned enterprises. Today some of the land became private property. During the election period between 1999~2000 from the Chen Shui-bian from the Democratic Progressive Party signed a treaty-like document called “A New Partnership Between the Indigenous Peoples and the Government of Taiwan”(Events In Focus, n.d.). The articles within the document includes:

1.Recognizing the inherent sovereignty of Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples

2.Promoting autonomy for Indigenous Peoples

3.Concluding a land treaty with Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples

4.Reinstating traditional names of Indigenous communities and natural landmarks

5.Recovering traditional territories of Indigenous communities and Peoples

6.Recovering use of traditional natural resources and furthering the development of self-determination

7.Providing legislative (parliamentary) representation for each Indigenous People

At the time when the document is being signed, Chen Shui-bian was only a presidential candidate so the legal effect was being questioned(Events In Focus, n.d.). It was until 2002 October 19th, the document is re-signed by Chen Shui-bian as the president of Taiwan(Events In Focus, n.d.). Even though the document is resigned (Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). 2002), the plan to remark the boundaries of ancestral ground was not enforced. In 2016, the newly elected president (Tsai Ing-wen) from the Democratic Progressive Party recorded a formal document to apologized to the first nations in Taiwan(Events In Focus, n.d.). She also promised to develop new policies to protect them and remake boundaries for each aboriginal tribe(Events In Focus, n.d.). On 2017 February 14th, the Council of Indigenous Peoples announced the document “The method of remarking tribal property or indigenous property”(Yáng, Z. 2017). The original territory planned was 1.8 million hectares; however, in this document states that it only covers 0.8 million hectares of land(Yáng, Z. 2017). Some people speculate the reason why the area is less than the originally planned is due to private investors who are planning to develop the land in the future(Yáng, Z. 2017). As for now indigenous people in Taiwan are still fighting for their land ownership with the government.

The Origin of the Bamboo Forest

Between 1971 and 1981 there were around 388 hectares of bamboo forest (Makino Bamboo) planted by the local people in YanPing Township and Haiduan Township(Bunun Village Leisure Farm, n.d.). In the past, the local government encouraged people to plant them, but due to the local’s inability to turn bamboo into marketable products, they can only sell the bamboo sticks cheaply to resellers(Bunun Village Leisure Farm, n.d.). The workers that cut bamboos down for locals are called Zhulianbang(TITV, 2017). The landowners sell their bamboos around 70 Taiwan dollars a bundle, the workers take 55 Taiwan dollars for harvesting(TITV, 2017). The landowners also had to pay the delivery fee(TITV, 2017). They do use the bamboo to build houses and bunkhouse for workers(Bunun Village Leisure Farm, n.d.). Due to the scanty profit that it brings, locals decided to not harvest the bamboos anymore and the bamboo forest was left abandoned(TITV, 2017).Planting bamboo wasn’t the only thing the government is encouraging people to do, in the past, they also encourage people to do sericulture, plant Malacca trees, Chinese parasol tree, and raising livestock. People genuinely follow it but stopped in the end due to the loss of market(TITV, 2017).

The Bunun Culture and education Foundation

Bunun Village and Bunun Culture & Education Foundation(BCEF) are founded by a tribal pastor Pai Kwang Sheng(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). He returned to his village(Yanping Village) in 1984 to provide education to his people by setting up a church that allows them to study(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). When he returned to his village he saw people suffering from various socio-economic challenges such as job loss, this urges him to take action to revive the community(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). The first ten years he focused on improving the education of the community, and he was assisted by university students.He also established a kindergarten for preschool children in 1992(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). In 1995 the BCEF was launched, giving the community financial opportunities(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). 7-Eleven in Taiwan heard about the launch of BCEF and helped funded 12 million NTD(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). The money was used to pay for the construction of the first building of Bunun Foundation(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.). “Since its establishment in 1995, the BCEF has been totally managed by the local aboriginal people(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.).” The organization has been developing self-sustaining industries and put sustainability as one of the primary goals. Recently in 2008, the Taiwanese Government decision to stimulate tourism entitled Challenge 2008 has provided more opportunities for the village to develop as a leisure resort center. This result the rekindling of the culture and helped unemployed people to work at “organic farm, forestry workers guiding treks into the mountains, engineers overseeing village construction and housekeeper wives becoming the backbone of the weaving industry(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.).” In the past non-profit organizations (NPOs)relied on the assistant of government services. During economic hard times, the funding to the NPOs from the government usually gets cut. However, BCEF was able to sustain itself without the help of government(Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation, n.d.).

Bamboo Forest Management and Harvesting


Ai Nong Company Limited is an organization that belongs to Bunun Culture & Educational Foundation(BCEF), their main objective is to continue the operation of Bunun Village (ài nóng shì yè yǒu xiàn gōng sī gōng yì bào gào shū [PDF], 2016). The Company was founded by pastor Pai Kwang Sheng in hopes of preserving the Bunun culture and provide economic opportunities. They manage the bamboo forest off their “ancestral mountains, and provides a market niche for the first certified bamboo in Taiwan (Rainforest Alliance, 2017).” The closest water source to the managing area is from Lu Ming creek, It is a tributary of the bigger Bei Nan River. The forest area that the company manages does not have any interference with the creek, they do not have any conflict with the residents that use the creek as well(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). The biodiversity is high within the area. For plants, there are 13 fren families with 20 species, 62 angiosperms families with 173 species. In total, 75 families and 193 species of Vascular plant (Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). For animal resources, there are signs of activities of Reeves's muntjacs, Wild boar, Pallas's squirrel, and crested serpent eagle. Pai Kwang Sheng first learned about the potential of bamboo products in a seminar that The Forestry Bureau of Taiwan opened(TITV, 2017).

Managment goal

The Ai Nong Company has set out their own goals for bamboo forest management (Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). Their management goals are not only economical, they also set out multiple social and environmental goal to ensure the safety of their workers and make sure the process is sustainable(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). The workers are local aboriginal people, thus they have their own traditions and customs when it comes to harvesting and often ignores safety, this is why they are trying to ensure the safety of workers and focus on their rights and interests (Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). The long-term goal is to secure aboriginal people’s rights and interest through enforcing customs in the forest and to spread their knowledge about nature (Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). Their economic goals consist of pushing for new products and gain FSC certification on existing products. The company is trying to spread the information about the importance of environmental sustainability(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). The company also aims to expand its market to an international level by selling sustainable bamboo products(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).They hope to use traditional knowledge to coexist with nature sustainably. Within the area there are also multiple Laurel forest, the long-term goal is to return the forest to ancient woodland (Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

Managment Plan

here management plan is not centered around bamboo products, but instead, it is also planned around the environment, community and the workers.

1.Tree Protection

Within bamboo forest area, protect Japanese blue oak, Phoebe zhennan, and Lagerstroemia subcostata if the trunk of the tree’s diameter is over 40cm at 1.3m high. Routinely check for weeds, vines, and pests.Trees within the bamboo forest provide shelters for birds, reduce pests that can harm bamboos, and provide water that can help the growth of bamboos(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

2.Harvesting plan

Even though the company manages 28.48 hectares of bamboo forest, only one-third of the land is currently being farmed and harvested. The bamboo is harvested when the diameter reaches 13 cm. It is estimated that they can harvest 119,616 bamboo sticks within the area that is currently being framed(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

3.Non-timber management

Legally speaking the bamboo shoots also belong to the company, but considering the main production of bamboo, they decide not to harvest them(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

4.Rights, protection, education of workers

Every worker has insurance. Workers who do more dangerous activities have additional insurance. Before working there is a mandatory 30-minute session of training that workers have to attend(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

5.Expansion of Bunun village and community

The main reason why the company push for FSC certification is to re-establish the bamboo market in Yan Ping. Thus the expansion of Bunun village and community is mainly about increasing sales of bamboo related products and tourism. The company hopes to establish a good reputation for sustainable tourism while providing locals with economic opportunities(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

Forest Protection

Another major part of the management plan is forest protection(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). To ensure the sustainability of the forest as well as safety, multiple hazard prevention goals must be met(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). Forest fire can affect not only the forest but also the aboriginal workers(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). A policy has been made in the year 2000 to set by the Forestry Bureau, COA, Executive Yuan to set regulations to reduce the risk of forest fire. The policy has focused on the process of different stages of operation, equipment used, and even behaviors such as smoking(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). The company is not concerned about pest problems within the area(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). Through the words of locals, birds can help mitigate the impact caused by pests(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d). For their prevention of illegal activities, the employees who are also locals have a tradition of hunting in the area. If outsiders are found using the area, the company will report to the National Police Agency. To ensure all goals are met there are multiple monitoring programs that are being executed. Some examples include animal resource monitoring, plant resource monitoring, invasive species monitoring, water quality monitoring, forest activities monitoring, plan monitoring, workers monitoring(Ai Nong Company Limited, n.d).

Affected and interested stakeholder

This case study is more of a demonstration of indigenous people's forest management ability. However, there are still interested and affected stakeholders.

Interested: Taiwanese Government, Forest Stewardship Council, Council of Indigenous Peoples, bamboo product buyers, bamboo product manufacturers in China.

Affected: Bamboo Harvesters, Ai Nong Company Limited, Bunun Village.


In January 2017 the Forest Stewardship Council assessment was conducted by the Rainforest Alliance(Rainforest Alliance, 2017). Pastor Pai Kwang Sheng became the formal holder of the FSC certificate “for [the] bamboo forest management by the Bunun people(Rainforest Alliance, 2017).” This is a huge milestone for the Bunun people because It was “the first-ever achievement of FSC Certification by an indigenous community in Taiwan and the greater China region (Rainforest Alliance, 2017).” “The FSC certification provides international recognition of tribal management of a renewable resource in their ancestral mountains, and provides a market niche for the first certified bamboo in Taiwan(Rainforest Alliance, 2017).”


Ai Nong Company Limited. (n.d). Zhu lin jing ying ji hua shu zhai yao [Summary of Bamboo Forest Managment Proposal]. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

ài nóng shì yè yǒu xiàn gōng sī gōng yì bào gào shū [PDF]. (2016, November 05). Ai Nong.

Bunun. (n.d.). Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation. (n.d.). About Bunun Cultural & Educational Foundation. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

Bunun Village Leisure Farm (n.d.). Bu nong zhu tan pin pai u shi [Story of Bunun Bamboo Products]. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

Council of Indigenous People (2017) Bu nong zu. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from

Digital Museum of Taiwan Indigenous Peoples. (n.d.). Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

Office of the President Republic of China (Taiwan). (2002, October 19). Zǒng tǒng cān jiā yuán zhù mín zú yǔ tái wān zhèng fǔ xīn huǒ bàn guān xì zài kěn rèn yí shì. Retrieved December 2, 2017, from

Events In Focus. (n.d.).Yuán zhù mín chuán tǒng lǐng yù shì shí me ? yuán zhù mín zhēng qǔ chuán tǒng lǐng yù dí lì shǐ. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from

Rainforest Alliance (2017, July 26). Bunun Tribe Becomes First Indigenous Community to Achieve FSC Certification in Taiwan and the Greater China Region. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

TITV. (2017, November 01) Dong hai an zhi sheng di 181 ji bu nong bu luo zhu lin chan ye yuan sen lin ren zheng biao zhang dong ya di yi [Voice of East Coast Episode 181 Bamboo Forest of Bunun Village Becomes the First Ever in East Asia to be Certified by FSC for Indigenous Based Community Forestry]. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from

Yáng, Z. (2017, March 21). Xiāo shī dí 100 wàn gōng qǐng 「 chuán tǒng lǐng yù 」 — — yuán zhù mín zú yào dí bù shì 「 tǔ dì 」 , ér shì 「 zhǔ quán 」. The News Lens. Retrieved December 4, 2017, from

Seekiefer (Pinus halepensis) 9months-fromtop.jpg
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