Located southeast of Tainan City, Longic District is a humble town with an actual population of about 2,000 people, and bamboo shoots and pineapples are featured agricultural products. Thanks to the special sandstone soil, bamboo shoots and pineapples have a special flavor. As bamboo forests are colorful in all seasons, the district is famous for being the "Hometown of Colorful Bamboo." Longci District is an ideal place for tourism and leisure, a tertiary industry, as the district has rich natural landscapes and geographical and environmental resources. For example, the "Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park" successfully built by the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau of the Council of Agriculture with ecological engineering methods, the Huxingshan Sports and Leisure Park, Longci Leisure Square, Longci Bamboo Charcoal Culture Park, and sunrise and sunset in Longci are suitable for family tours. The district is very infertile as it is located in a hilly area formed by mudstone and yellow sandy soil, and green bamboo shoots, Taiwan giant bamboo shoots, and pineapples are the major agricultural products of the district. Thanks to the unique soil content different from that of Guanmiao, bamboo shoots and pineapples from Longci have a special flavor. In fact, the output of pineapples and bamboo shoots from Langci tends to outnumber that of Guanmiao.
As bamboo forests are everywhere and forestation was encouraged in the district, bamboo weaving and forestry play a crucial role in the district's agricultural development. In Longci, there are about 937.80 hectares of farmland, including 4.10 hectares of paddy fields and 933.70 hectares of upland fields. However, there are 4,690.12 hectares of forests. In addition, over 90% of the district is protected slope land and forests, suggesting that forestry is a major agricultural practice in the district. Therefore, encouraging forestation is one of the missions of this district office.
As over 90% of the district is protected slope land, development is strictly restricted. In addition, while regulations governing development are very rigorous, only existing factories and industrial parks in the district can offer job opportunities for local citizens. As a result, the outflow of population becomes severer every year.
Industry & Business: Bamboo Charcoal and Bamboo Weaving
As over 90% of the district is protected slope land, development is strictly restricted. In addition, while regulations governing development are very rigorous, only existing factories and industrial parks in the district can offer job opportunities for local citizens. As a result, outflow of population becomes severer every year.
Slate formed by chalk soil is almost everywhere in the district, like the Yueshihjie known to the public. In such badlands where nothing can grow, only bamboo survives and grows rapidly. Due to rapid social change, bamboo has lost its value as a high-class construction material in the days of old.
In Longci District, bamboo is grown on over 50% of the district's farmland. To create more business opportunities and enhance the added value of the bamboo industry, the Longci Farmers' Association launches industrial and academic cooperation with the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute of the Council of Agriculture. Under the cooperation program, Japanese bamboo charcoal experts are invited to help the district to build traditional Japanese bamboo charcoal kilns and develop bamboo charcoal-related products, including bamboo vinegar, bamboo charcoal sheets, bamboo charcoal quilts, bamboo charcoal pillows, bamboo vinegar bathing lotions, bamboo vinegar shampoos, bamboo charcoal noodles, and other bamboo charcoal products. These products are displayed in the Bamboo Story House.
Bamboo charcoal is made of mature bamboo (4-6 years old). After kilning at 1,000°C for over 10 days, it becomes refined bamboo charcoal after carbonation. Due to bamboo's special structure, the surface area of bamboo charcoal is six times larger than that of general wood charcoal. As the surface area in contact with air of each gram of bamboo charcoal is 300m2, bamboo charcoal absorbs moisture, odors, and chemical substances superbly. The far infrared contained in bamboo charcoal can accelerate heat and blood circulation. Minerals (trace elements), such as water-soluble potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, contained in bamboo charcoal are three times higher than those in general wood charcoal. When cooked with bamboo charcoal, therefore, rice becomes more elastic and chewier and tea becomes more aromatic, which helps improve the health of the human body. Hence, the use of bamboo charcoal is part of the new regimen in the 21st century.
The effects and functions of bamboo charcoal
1. Regulating humidity
The surface of bamboo charcoal, or black gold, is porous. As the surface area in contact with air of each gram of bamboo charcoal is 300m2, bamboo charcoal has superb absorbency to regulate humidity. When the environment is too humid, bamboo charcoal can absorb moisture in the air. When the environment is dry, however, bamboo charcoal releases moisture to regulate humidity.
2. Absorbing hazardous substances
Bamboo charcoal absorbs organic pollutants or hazardous chemical substances in the air excellently, such as sulfide, nitride, methanol, benzene, phenol, and chloroform. Bamboo charcoal can also absorb odors in the air and purify water as a biological carrier. Bamboo charcoal also increases health-promoting ions in the air to purify air.
3. Rich minerals
Bamboo charcoal contains about 76-85% of carbon. Although the exact carbon content varies as the growth condition and manufacturing process of bamboo charcoal differ, bamboo charcoal contains rich trace elements, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese. By soaking bamboo charcoal in water, these micro-minerals will release gradually to change the pH value of water to mildly alkaline. Soaking bamboo charcoal in water for one day before cooking or simply boiling water with bamboo charcoal inside can purify water and promote health.
4. Far infrared
Bamboo charcoal made by kilning is the energy body of far infrared. After heating the effect of far infrared increases to warm up air, wind, and water in the surroundings. Far infrared can penetrate the human body to boost blood circulation and metabolism to relieve fatigue. The far infrared effect in bamboo charcoal is permanent.
5. Soil amendment
The superb absorbency of bamboo charcoal can purify soil and inhibit pests. Bamboo charcoal contains rich minerals to increase the activity of various plant functions, thereby improving crop quality. Pores in the bamboo charcoal are the ideal habitats and propagation sites for probiotic microorganisms. As bamboo charcoal is mildly alkaline, it can amend soil with excessive pesticide and chemical fertilizers or acidic soil due to acidic rain. As bamboo charcoal is porous, it contains great water-holding property, air permeability, and nutrient-preserving capability.
6. Preserving vegetable, fruit, and fish freshness
Bamboo charcoal can absorb gaseous ethylene produced by fruit and vegetable to delay ageing, deterioration, and decay of vegetable and fruit after packaging. Putting bamboo charcoal in the fish storage tank of fishing boats can preserve fish freshness and absorb fish smell.
7. Removing odors and hazardous chemical substances
Active charcoal is often used in households to remove odors and purify air. Limited by the distribution range of pores, the variety of microorganisms breaking down substances absorbing odors contained in bamboo charcoal is also limited to reduce deodorizing effect. Bamboo charcoal is a suitable material for deodorization and air purification. Bamboo charcoal can also absorb hazardous substances such as formaldehyde and acetone released from wood furniture, coating, and wall paper-bonding agents after decoration.
8. Improving rice quality and aroma
When rice is cooked with bamboo charcoal, the inorganic ingredients dissolved from bamboo charcoal will diffuse into rice to make rice more aromatic and tastier. As rice is cooked at over 100°C for a long time in the electric rice cooker, the far infrared radiated from bamboo charcoal can make rice chewier and reduce yellowing.
9. Shielding electromagnetic waves
The degree of refining and surface impedance of bamboo charcoal is highly correlated. Bamboo charcoal kilned at over 700°C has lower impedance and is conductive to becoming good for shielding electromagnetic waves.
10. Healthy bathing material
Putting bamboo charcoal in the tub can absorb chlorine and organic substances contained in tap water for the microorganisms inhabiting in the pores to break down to remove substances hazardous to skin. In addition, minerals beneficial to skin contained in bamboo charcoal can also be released into the water.
11. Healthy beddings
Bamboo charcoal has excellent moisture absorbency and deodorizing effect to absorb carbon dioxide released from exhalation, sweat, and odors from sweat. In addition, as the bamboo charcoal chips used in the pillow are harder than other materials, they have better massage effect for the neck and the head.
As bamboo forests are everywhere and forestation was encouraged in the district, bamboo weaving and forestry play a crucial role in the district's agricultural development.
When visiting the Niupu Mudstone Area Soil and Water Conservation Park in Longci, visitors can see the bamboo hats, bamboo baskets, penholders, and creative bamboo ornaments made by elderly people in Longci. Bamboo pendants or ornaments are also sold at the park. In fact, weaving bamboo ornament DIY classes are arranged at the park for visitors to explore and enjoy the fun of bamboo weaving and bring their works home.