The Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department has set up a $1 billion Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF), with $500 million dedicated to supporting eligible organisations and post-secondary education institutions in conducting research, or carrying out conservation and related projects in collaboration with local communities. A first round of 18 projects have been approved for funding, covering various aspects of Lantau’s nature and cultural conservation. Last week, I invited representatives of Regenerating Shui Hau, one of the approved projects, to give us an introduction. This time, representatives of two other approved projects will share with us details of their environmental education work and habitat studies in Lantau.
Lantau Countryside Ecological and Cultural Education Programme
First comes the Lantau Countryside Ecological and Cultural Education Programme. A member of the project, Mr Bond SHUM, points out that Lantau has a wealth of ecological and cultural resources, drawing an increasing number of visitors to its rural areas. The project aims to provide diverse and interesting environmental education, offering the correct approaches and information, so that the public can deepen their understanding of Lantau, knowing which areas are of higher ecological as well as cultural values and in need of protection, thereby raising the younger generation's awareness about Lantau conservation.
Mr Bond SHUM adds that the Programme mainly consists of two parts: audio guides, and the training of Lantau Ecological Education Ambassadors. Audio guides are available for four themed routes, covering areas with higher ecological and cultural values in Lantau, such as Mui Wo, Pui O, Shap Long and Shui Hau. Along the way, participants can select their interested locations on the mobile application to get relevant information about the ecology and culture there. The project team will start adding information gathered about the routes into the application gradually next year.
Training Lantau Ecological Education Ambassadors
Moreover, the project team has selected two ecological hot spots - Pui O and Shui Hau - for training a group of tertiary students as Lantau Ecological Education Ambassadors, in the form of “seed mentors”. The Ambassadors will help organise 40 school and public group activities to educate students and the public on the ecology of birds and butterflies at the two hot spots, contributing to Lantau conservation together.
A comprehensive survey of diadromous animals
Another approved project is “A comprehensive survey of the diadromous animals of Lantau: assessment of distribution, population status, and conservation strategies” of Lingnan University. A member of the project, Mr Jeffrey CHAN, tells us that there are many rivers on Lantau Island that run into the sea. They will make site visits to 15 to 20 rivers in places including Shui Hau, Pui O and Tai O. Firstly, they will conduct a wide-scale study of diadromous animals in Lantau to map species, distribution and ecology for identifying rivers that conservation is to be prioritised.
Assessment of the effectiveness of mitigating facilities
Secondly, the project will assess ecological linkages in one or multiple Lantau rivers by studying DNA data of diadromous animals, and how species will be affected if there is pollution. Thirdly, by creating habitats that mimic natural rivers, the project team will conduct ex-situ experiments to test the impact and efficacy of mitigating facilities such as dams or fish ladders on fish movement, so as to connect scattered river habitats.
Conservation of diadromous fish
Mr Jeffrey CHAN tells us that he hopes the results of the study will enable people to understand the ecology of diadromous animals and the threats these animals face. Also, he hopes the study can provide solutions for the conservation of diadromous animals and restoration of their habitats. The team will enhance public understanding of this conservation issue by disseminating its findings and raising public awareness in multiple formats, such as publishing in scientific journals and shooting documentaries. In addition, specimens of diadromous animals collected will also be archived in Lingnan University’s Natural History Collection, where they will constitute an important resource for future education and research.
The LCF accepted the first round of applications last year and received an overwhelming response. I hope the gradual implementation of the approved projects can further enhance the environmental capacity of Lantau, facilitate the conservation of the culture and rural character of Lantau, and promote the sustainable development of Lantau. The LCF will start accepting the next round of applications on December 28. Interested organisations or institutions, please don’t miss the opportunity. For details, please visit the LCF website (lcf.gov.hk)
Legislative Council General Election
I would also like to remind you that the Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election will be held next Sunday (December 19). These past few weeks, whenever I attended various events to interact with people from different sectors, I always called on them to actively participate and cast an important vote to elect patriotic LegCo members who are sincere to serve the public. This is the first LegCo election under the improved electoral system, which embodies four major features, namely broad representation, political inclusiveness, balanced participation and fair competition. The Government will spare no effort in making the election a great success. Eligible voters, please cast an important vote for Hong Kong’s future.
12 December, 2021Back