The 7th Conference of East Asia Research Association for Agricultural Heritage Systems (ERAHS) was held in Qingyuan County, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, China, from 4th to 8th June, 2023. The theme of the conference was “Agricultural Heritage System Conservation Promotes Agrifood System Transformation” and brought together many researchers, experts and stakeholders from China, South Korea, and Japan.
The conference provided a valuable opportunity to share the latest research results and findings on agricultural heritage systems, as well as good practices and case studies from different sites of agricultural heritage systems, and to learn from each other’s efforts in different regions. Promoting cooperation between agricultural heritage systems in East Asian countries was also an important theme, with researchers, experts and stakeholders exchanging information and working to build new cooperative relationships. United Nations University researcher Ms Koyama also gave an oral presentation, focusing on her work with the Noto GIAHS Biodiversity Working Group in the Noto region of Ishikawa Prefecture on the creation of a citizen-participatory biodiversity monitoring system, introducing the activities she is undertaking with local scientific experts, local governments, schools, and community groups.
* View of Ganoderma lucidum cultivation facility (picture on the left), demonstration of cultivation method by a descendant of Mr Wu Sangong, the father of shiitake mushroom cultivation in China (picture on the right)
The host county of the conference, Qingyuan County, has a newly designated Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) ‘Qingyuan Forest-Mushroom Co-culture System in Zhejiang Province’ which was designated last year in 2022. After the conference, a field tour was held to learn about the cultivation of these mushrooms and the nature and culture of the region. The participants learnt about the shiitake mushroom cultivation method that began in Qingyuan 800 years ago and visited a cultivation facility for Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), which has high health benefits and medicinal value. It was an opportunity to think deeply about the potential of mushrooms.
Promoting conservation of and cooperation between agricultural heritage systems in East Asian countries will continue to be an important issue. The UNU-IAS OUIK will continue to support the sharing of issues and solutions and the promotion of cooperation between regions nationally and internationally. The next ERAHS is scheduled to take place next year in Gifu Prefecture, where the ‘Ayu of the Nagara River System, Japan’ is registered as GIAHS.
*A wide variety of mushrooms on display at the Shiitake Mushroom Museum in Qingyuan