AFCD responds to the challenge of country park management by approaching it in a systematic and scientific manner.
This management strategy is based on a number of management principles. These include:
AFCD management principle 1
A comprehensive understanding of Hong Kong's natural environment
Having a good picture and comprehensive understanding of the Hong Kong natural environment, which means the landscapes beyond the urban area. It has been said that the Chinese expression for landscape is shan shui. Translated this means 'mountains water.' The AFCD strives to maintain its knowledge of 23 country parks. The landscapes are diverse and involve the interactions between mountains and water. Shan shui is a phrase that captures this idea beautifully. The climate which helps to modify the underlying geology that characterize the rocks of Hong Kong is a mixture of tropical extremes and subtropical influences e.g. we experience typhoons in summer and cold snaps in winter. Hills dominate much of the countryside managed by the AFCD; yet these hills are dissected by valleys, steep and gentle slopes, permanent and seasonal streams and flood plains. Collectively, these diverse landscapes provide diverse habitats; which in turn help to provide and sustain our impressive biodiversity. AFCD's management strategy is mindful of this principle of landscape diversity.
The following video clip illustrates how crucial slope maintenance is in Hong Kong's country parks.
AFCD management principle 2
Strategically-located management centres supported by an 'army' of conservation managers and specialists
Having management centres dispersed at strategic locations within or close to country parks, e.g. The Sai Kung East Country Park has the Pak Tam Chung Management Centre (PTCMC) right beside the road entrance to this huge park, on Tai Mong Tsai Road, Sai Kung. The PTCMC is managed by a Senior Field Officer of the AFCD. Nearby, there is a well-designed and usefully resourced visitor centre staffed by uniformed AFCD officers who provide advice and information to any people who may wish to visit some of the open-air attractions available in the 4,477 ha of the scenic Sai Kung East Country Park. Perhaps you would enjoy and benefit from a review of the country park landscapes by looking at Reading 5.5 in Unit 5 of S122. You may recall that Dr Wong Fook-yee outlined and described the many geomorphological features that can be seen in country parks. This he did in a style of using our country parks as a teaching laboratory – an outdoor, real, dynamic 'lab'; not a virtual lab inside a computer!
These AFCD management centres are not only led by trained conservation and park officers these teams are supported by an 'army' of conservation managers and specialists back in the AFCD Head Office at Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon. The following list will give you a good idea of the sort of roles played and jobs done by AFCD in country park management:
- Assistant Director (Country and Marine Parks)
- Assistant Director (Conservation)
- Senior Country Parks Officers (SCPO) (North West)
- SCPO (Wetland and Fauna Conservation)
- Senior Conservation Officer (SCO)
- Conservation Officer (CO)
- Country Parks Management Officer (CPMO)
- Country Parks Ranger Officer (CPRO)
- Senior Field Officer / Field Officer (SFO/FO)
- Nature Education Officer (NEO)
- Nature Education Assistant (NEA)
Some of these positions may have specialist designations, e.g. CO (Flora) would be a Conservation Officer who specializes in plants, especially trees and shrubs, that are native to the
From this list alone, you can deduce some of the strategies and functions of AFCD. There are those which focus on conservation management and there are those which focus on education, and those concerned with research such as herbarium and nursery based activities. All posts and roles are integrated into the holistic aim of conserving our natural resources and managing them in a way that facilitates long term conservation, recreation and education in all areas related to biodiversity conservation. Such management needs to respond to region-wide social and economic considerations for the benefit and enjoyment of the present and future generations of the Hong Kong communities (Jim and Wong 2006).
The following video clip gives you an example of one way the AFCD tries to educate the people who use Hong Kong's Country Parks – and consider how they might do even better.
AFCD management principle 3
An effective infrastructure
Maintaining an infrastructure which enables AFCD to do their many jobs and the people of Hong Kong to access the parks for recreation, education and, increasingly, for quality of life and health enhancement reasons. Recent studies have shown that Hong Kong country parks are amongst the most often visited in East Asia (Southeast Asia, China and Japan) (Jim and Wong 2006) and perhaps in the Asia Pacific (Maxwell and Hung 2008). In the two years 2004–2005 over 12 million visitations were recorded for HKSAR country parks. This represents a six-fold increase since 1976/77. Between 1994/95 and 2002/03, the numbers have been close to 10.5 million per year (Jim and Wong 2006). This trend is likely to increase as even without the unwelcome SARS episode, more and more people of all ages stages and socio-economic levels are coming to value the green, 'lungs of Hong Kong,' which are the country parks. What sort of infrastructure would you expect to be held responsible for if you were, say, a SCO (services) within the AFCD?
After exploring the key links related to the AFCD's strategy, it's time for Activity.