The Forestry Bureau’s new “Forest of Wood” calendar is following the success of 2018’s “Forest of Food” edition that featured edible plants, with more than 20,000 copies of this year’s calendar sold.
January’s page in this year’s calendar features Taiwanese wooden folk toys, because the bureau wants to raise awareness of ecological conservation among young people in urban areas with the calendars, Director-General Lin Hwa-ching (林華慶) said.
“A calendar is a good way to open a dialogue with the public. Before we can convince people how important it is to conserve forested areas and win their support, we must let them know that the bureau exists,” he said.
Photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau
Most people know very little about the bureau, but it is the central government body that promotes ecological conservation, managing nearly half of the total land in the nation, including 1.62 million hectares of government-owned forests and protected forests, he said.
The bureau issued many publications and hosted speeches and seminars, but never managed to reach a wider audience than those who were already interested in forestry, so he decided to use a different approach when he took office in 2016, Lin said.
Drawing on his experience at the Ministry of Culture, he replaced photographs in the annual calendar with hand-drawn illustrations, because he thought young people would like the more lively style, he said.
That is how the “Forest of Food” was created, and it won rave reviews after its launch, with many people sharing pictures of the calendar on social media, he said.
Using the momentum generated by the success of the calendar, the bureau in 2018 collaborated with the Taiwan Railways Administration on the “Satoyama Animal Train” to highlight coexistence between humans and “satoyama animals,” Lin said.
“Satoyama” is the Japanese term for the region between mountains and flatlands inhabited by cicadas, moths, dragonflies, mitten crabs, frogs and snails as well as humans, he said.
Artists’ impression of satoyama animals painted on the train cars became very popular on the Internet, and helped promote ecological conservation, Lin said.
Satoyama areas are highly developed, highlighting the importance of ecological conservation, but traditional promotion approaches such as lectures just bored people, he said.
Just as trains come and go, wild animals and other creatures should be able to move about freely and live comfortably, just as humans do, he said.
The bureau’s calendar last year featured satoyama animals, and two printings quickly sold out.
“We are determined not to lecture the public, but to use aesthetic designs to arouse people’s interest from within,” Lin said.
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