Mulberry-Dyke and Fish-Pond System (A Self-Sustainable Eco-Agriculture System That Brings Harmony Between Ecology And Economy)

“The Pearl River Delta offers humans a variety of land-use alternatives. A complex ecosystem which has been in existence in the Delta for centuries has greatly contributed to the region’s agricultural productivity.The principal components are mulberry trees, silkworms, pond fish, and humans, interrelated in a harmonious and mutually beneficial way. The system is not only highly efficient and soundly balanced ecologically, but provides much higher economic returns than do other agrarian practices in the Delta.” (Human Ecology, Vol.10, No.2, 1982)

Huzhou Mulberry-Dyke And Fish-Pond System


This ecologically balanced and self-sustainable system is called the Mulberry-dyke & Fish-pond System (MFS), an ancient Chinese ecological agriculture system that was originated and has been developed in Huzhou, Zhejiang, China, with a history of as long as  2500 years. This system includes 3 units: mulberry tree cultivation, silkworm rearing, fish farming. It is a comprehensive and multi-dimensional eco-agricultural system that is based on a very complex irrigation and drainage system:

  1. Mulberry tree cultivation secures the dyke foundation (strong root system of mulberry trees) and produces mulberry tree leaves for silkworm rearing.
  2. Silkworm feces and chrysalises are poured into the fish pond to feed the fishes.
  3. The fish pond sludge comprising fish feces and silkworm excrement are used as natural fertilizers to ensure healthy growth of the mulberry trees or other plants on the dyke.

 This complex system is a scientifically based man-made ecosystem, a self-sustainable ecologically harmonious economic model,  abundant in economic returns while with zero pollution to the environment. In 2017, Zhejiang Huzhou Mulberry-dyke & Fish-pond System has been officially recognized by the Food and Argriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) as an “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System” (GIAHS).

Mulberry-dyke & Fish-pond System COMPLEX

Mulberry Dyke Fish Pond Complex


The MFS model is a complete ecosystem that integrates multiple types of natural ecological cycles. It not only makes efficient use of the natural land and water resource in the low-lying land area for plants and crops, but also effectively benefits the farm and aquatic product industry. It is a highly balanced system that benefits both ecology and economy while produce minimum waste and pollution to local environment.  

Mulberry-dyke & Fish-pond System Process

  1. Dig the low-lying land deeper and turn it into a pond.
  2. Pile the excavated mud around the pond to create dykes as the foundation of mulberry fields. (The ratio of mulberry-dyke and fish-pond is 6:4.)
  3. Mulberry trees are cultivated on the dyke while a variety of fishes will be raised in the pond.
  4. Mulberry tree leaves plucked and used to feed silkworms.
  5. Silkworm excrement is collected and used to feed the fish.
  6. Pond sludge excavated once a year and piled back on to the dyke as natural fertilizer for the mulberry trees.

The MFS model is based on a complicated but strictly scientific theory of natural ecological cycles. It can be subdivided into 3 subsystems:

  • Mulberry Dyke Subsystem- THE PRODUCER

In this subsystem, mulberry field is the producer of organic matter. With the photosynthesis process, it absorbs sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and produce organic mulberry leaves. The nutrients and energy then got passed onto silkworms which are fed solely with mulberry leaves.  Mulberry trees also produce mulberries that are later being processed into mulberry tea products or ingredients of farm animal fodder.

  • Silkworm Subsystem- THE PRIMARY CONSUMER

In this subsystem, silkworms consume large amount of mulberry leaves and produce cocoons. Cocoons are picked and processed into silk products. Silkworm pupae and feces are collected and used as fish fodder.

  • Fish Pond Subsystem- THE SECONDARY CONSUMER

Micro organism in this subsystem decomposes algae and various organic substances in the fish pond and turn them into natural elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, which will later be mixed into pond sludge and restored to the mulberry dyke, providing nutrition and energy for the growth of the mulberry trees. From here, a new ecological cycle starts.


Over thousands of years, the Mulberry-dyke and Fish-pond System has been practiced with success and proven to be efficient in ecological and economic profits with the circulation of natural resources, energies and outputs. With a background of the increasing awareness of ecological civilization, this system has a prominent preponderances to achieve green development.

At alanünü, we are grateful to be one who benefits from the output of this economically sufficient system, while we are also very proud to be part of this self-sustainable ecosystem that we can give our own contribution to the global environment in the long term.

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