Biodiversity Monitoring Programme
Regular biodiversity baseline surveys are carried out at Lai Chi Wo to establish an ecological baseline as well as to evaluate the effects of different types of farming activities and habitat management on the area's biodiversity. The data collected are used for long-term biodiversity management plan formulation and environmental education. The biodiversity monitoring programme investigates the following taxa groups:
Cumulative record of 248 plant species which is 7.3% of all native and exotic plant species of Hong Kong.
Cumulative record of 141 bird species which is around 25% of Hong Kong bird species. Special species include Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus黑冠鳽), Brown Wood Owl (Strix leptogrammica 褐林鴞), Grey Bush Chat (Saxicola ferrea灰林䳭), and Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola黃胸鵐).
Cumulative no. of 149 butterfly species is recorded. Lai Chi Wo’s butterfly diversity has reached the top 10 sites in Hong Kong, with over 58% of the total number of Hong Kong butterfly species. Special species include Commander (Moduza procris穆蛺蝶), Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha珐蛺蝶), Glassy Bluebottle (Graphium cloanthus寬帶青鳳蝶), and Prized Hedge Blue (Udara dilecta珍貴嫵灰蝶).
Cumulative record of 55 dragonfly species which is around 46% of Hong Kong dragonfly species. Special species include Mangrove Skimmer (Orthetrum poecilops斑灰蜻).
Cumulative record of 9 amphibian species which is around 38% of Hong Kong amphibian species. Special species include the Chinese Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus chinensis虎紋蛙).
Cumulative record of 28 reptile species which is one third of Hong Kong reptile species. Special species include Burmese Python (Python bivittatus蟒蛇) and Banded Wolf Snake (Lycodon subcinctus細白環蛇).
Cumulative record of 8 mammal species which is around 14% of Hong Kong terrestrial mammal species. Special species include Masked Palm Civet (Paguma larvata果子狸).
Cumulative record of 175 marsh and 157 stream macroinvertebrates which make Lai Chi Wo the best sites for macroinvertebrates in the last territory-wide assessment of freshwater wetlands in 1996. Cumulative record of 46 freshwater fish species which is over 20% of Hong Kong freshwater fish species.
During the four years of the Sustainable Lai Chi Wo Programme, the Lai Chi Wo ecological monitoring team has been conducting regular ecological baseline survey at least twice a month. Through recording species encountered on five transects at daytime, the abundance and distribution of different bird, butterfly and dragonfly species are obtained. At night, surveyors also search for reptiles and mammals, the latter is recorded with the aid of infra-red triggered camera. Since restoration of farmland may particularly affect frogs and aquatic invertebrates, regular frog call survey and aquatic invertebrate sampling are conducted at designated farmlands.
The results show that Lai Chi Wo possesses very high ecological value. More than one third of local amphibian species and more than half of the local butterfly species can be found in the village. Additionally, the largest group of the uncommon Grey-capped Greenfinch (Carduelis sinica金翅雀) in Hong Kong was recorded on Lai Chi Wo's farmland. Diversity of aquatic invertebrates is also the highest among all nearby regions.
A species reintroduction programme was also initiated in Lai Chi Wo with the aim to restore the population of rice fish Oryzias curvinotus (弓背青鱂) at Lai Chi Wo, which is a global concern species. Around 40 rice fishes were captured from the nearby So Lo Pun for captive breeding. More than 300 individuals of rice fish were successfully hatched from the breeding stock. Currently 100 individuals of rice fish were released to Lai Chi Wo and signs of reproduction have been shown (eggs and juvenile fish were observed). This programme is an on-going research in the latest phase of the HSBC Rural Sustainability programme.
Hau, B. C. H., Lo, K. W. F., & So, K. Y. K. (2018). Living Water and Community Revitalization - An Agricultural-led Action, Engagement and Incubation Programme at Lai Chi Wo: Biodiversity Baseline and Management Plan of Freshwater and Terrestrial Habitats of Lai Chi Wo. Hong Kong: Policy for Sustainability Lab, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong.
This is a report of the biodiversity assessment and monitoring programme at Lai Chi Wo which aimed to 1) establish a baseline of the terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity of Lai Chi Wo covering vascular plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, butterflies, dragonflies, freshwater fishes and invertebrates; and 2) identify local biodiversity hotspots in Lai Chi Wo and provide habitat management recommendations.
Professor David DUDGEON and Dr. Billy HAU , School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong