Engaging Local Communities in Conservation Actions


Community Work in Daoyin Village, Yinggeling, Hainan

Daoyin is a very remote village in Yinggeling Nature Reserve, in the central mountains of Hainan Island. To reach this beautiful village, after several hours in the car from the nearest big town it requires a further two-hour walk from the road, with several river crossings en route. 

The residents of Daoyin Village belong to the Li minority group. We find the villagers there to be kind and gentle people; they rely a lot on natural resources and live more sustainably than most of us. Before, they relied on very small micro-hydropower (1-2 kV) machines they installed by the river beside their village. In recent years the Government built them several solar powered generators. They were also the first village in Yinggeling to set up a Fish Sanctuary (fish no-catch zone). There are now, 11 Fish Sanctuaries established in rivers around Yinggeling Nature Reserve. Villagers could observe more and bigger fishes now. Since fish poisoning had almost been stopped as a result of the fish sanctuary rules, villagers now feel safer about their drinking water and their livestock.

Building with Earth

The walls of the villagers’ houses are built with mud and the roofs with thatch grass. They make a wall structure with wickers and paste it with a mix of mud and rice straw. Since the mud mix is not compressed, the walls start to break down after about two years,The villagers have been considering the more durable fired brick, bought from outside, but transportation and cost of bricks is a problem for them.

In response Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC), a Department of KFBG, and Yinggeling Nature Reserve introduced the technique of rammed earth stabilized with 5% cement. The walls are very strong and waterproof, yet the appearance is quite similar with their original dwellings. The interior is cool and comfortable. The villagers have also started to make unfired earth bricks. This consumes only one-eighth as much energy as fired bricks, yet the bricks are stronger.

Left: KCC and Yinggeling Nature Reserve helped the villagers to build a community centre using stabilised rammed earth. Right: Building with earth - work in progress.