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Lichi area is a scarcely seen badland landscape in Taitung. Muddy and easily eroded badland area is not suitable for agriculture, but recently Lichi has developed many fruit orchards, with the policy support of farmers’ association from the Council of Agriculture. Among the well-known and popular fruits are guavas and sweet wax apples. Although Lichi is remote and hard to reach, its special fruits, landforms and ecology still appeal crowds of tourists. The geopark promotion activities in recent years not only increase the area’s visibility, but also initiate local response to the core values of geopark. The rhythm and tempo of community life become accordant to its natural environment and cultural/economic wisdom and make it more sustainable.
Each of the communities within the Lichi Badland Geopark has its own distinctive characteristics. Lichi village is famous for badland fruits, such as sugar wax apples and guavas. Fuyuan village is known for its spectacular landscape between the narrow strip of hill between the sea and the mountain. Fushan has a heavenly beauty of bay which is always in the spotlight. Fugang serves as a fishing port and a node linking Orchid and Green islands. Lastly but not least, Fufong possesses a rich aboriginal traditional culture.
Lichi Badland Geopark is supported mainly by two communities, Fuyuan and Lichi. Local identity and affection for community development make expert knowledge easy to spread to local communities. Participatory planning and workshops organized by experts and the academia are key to the success of the geopark. In the long run, it is hoped that the geopark will incorporate all neighboring communities to strengthen geopark concepts and values for local geo-tourism and for a sustainable development of this remote area of Taiwan.
In the early stage of geopark promotion, the local community participation and partnership were critical. The geopark promotion activities also tried to incorporate local elementary schools so that a scheme of environmental education for school kids and local residents is made. With both scientific geology, geomorphology, local economic activity and cultural life, a sustainable development could be established with integrity. For example, for the community located on hills where indigenous terraced agriculture is characteristic, the physical environment is well kept. For the Han people in the plains and coastal area, live-stocking is a major economy as the soil is not as fertile and agriculture is not as easy. All these various activities involve very different views and uses of the local environment and landscape. Environmental education at the geopark can then be integrated with the value of geopark so that the concept of sustainable environment can be discussed in the area to conserve landscape and unique cultures.