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Walk into Nature
						Explore its Ecology
Walk into Nature Explore its Ecology

Nature Conservation

With the warm weather and abundant rainfalls, Taiwan has numerous mountains and valleys, which results in great vertical height differences. As its 58% area is covered by forests, Taiwan has various ecological environments, thus nurturing rich animal and plant resources. Many of the species are endemic, precious and internationally well-known. Whether in terms of academic research or resource conservation, they are of certain importance and worth our protection.

Biological diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity hosted its 10th conference of parties in October 2010, passing the 2011-2020 strategic plan and objective of biodiversity protection, namely “Aichi biodiversity targets.” It hopes to stop further loss of ecosystems before 2020. Its long-term goal is to establish a society harmoniously coexisting with the nature before 2050. In the 65th session, the United Nations decided 2011-2020 as “a decade of United Nations biodiversity,” encouraging parties to implement the 2011-2020 strategic plan of biodiversity. The Forestry Bureau is a staff unit belonging to the biodiversity section of the National Council for Sustainable Development of the Executive Yuan. It takes charge of planning related works and aims to connect biodiversity sustainable development plan with international standards.

A variety of protected areas

According to the data of IUCN, there are some main reasons resulting in species extinction. Original habitats are disturbed or damaged; excessive hunting and introduction of alien species threatens the survival of native species. Therefore, the most direct way to protect biodiversity is to protect habitats, namely by establishing protected areas and strengthening maintenance. The protected areas established for the purpose of nature’s conservation are divided into five categories, including nature reserves, wildlife refuges, major wildlife habitats, national parks and forest reserves. There are 22 nature reserves, announced by the Council of Agriculture based on the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. Wildlife refuges and major wildlife habitats are planned by the Council of Agriculture or county governments based on the Wildlife Conservation Act. So far there are 20 wildlife refuges and 37 major wildlife habitats. Moreover, there are nine national parks and one national nature park, announced by the Ministry of the Interior based on the National Park Act. There are six forest reserves, set up by the Forestry Bureau based on the Forest Act. Totally all types of protected areas amount to 1,133,488 hectares. (Overlapped areas have been deduced.) Their land areas are 694,501 hectares, about 19.19 percent of Taiwan’s total land areas.
(See the attached table)

Wildlife conservation and management

The nation conducts conservation and sustainable use of wildlife resources based on the “Wildlife Conservation Act.” Currently it announces by law more than 3,000 species of protected wildlife, including 212 native species. In order to respect indigenous people’s traditional hunting culture, the “regulations governing wildlife hunting based on indigenous traditional culture and rituals” were promulgated in 2012, according to which indigenous people’s traditional cultural rituals of hunting, killing or using wildlife can be followed.

In order to deal with international smuggling and domestic illegal trade in wildlife, injured animals and animals in danger, the Forestry Bureau sets up six shelters and first-aid stations that take care of wildlife, including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Moreover, the bureau establishes three identification laboratories of wildlife products, a confiscation center of wildlife products and a virtual identification center.

The bureau urges municipalities, county (city) governments, societies and related units to establish partnerships of ecological maintenance and biodiversity conservation, promoting various kinds of ecological researches on wildlife and study on wildlife use pattern. The bureau actively handles domestic religious release and sets up protection educational parks. Under the premise not to endanger the population of Formosan macaques, the bureau draws up the “action plan of preventing Formosan macaques from damaging crops,” moderately reducing the number of macaques in high conflict areas so as to decrease agricultural damage. In order to safeguard captive bred parrots, the bureau plans to draft the “Regulation governing review of export certificate for captive bred parrots” promoting registration and certification systems of Taiwan Psittaciformes (one bird, one ring, one certificate). The goal is to implement bird breeding records and source certifications, expand international trade markets, and increase industry revenues.

Conservation of rare old trees

  • Centennial Tree Wonder – Recommended by old tree experts and specialists, the one of Taiwan’s one hundred most characteristic old trees.
To protect precious tree resources in urban and rural areas, there are 16 county (city) governments that, based on the Local Government Act, lay down related tree protection regulations. The Council of Agriculture compiles comments from relevant departments and reviews those regulations. The trees that fit certain standards, such as 50-100 years old, 0.8-1.5 meters in diameter, 2.5-4.7 meters in trunk or of special significance, must be publically included in the protection list. Based on local conditions, the local governments are entitled to protect certain trees, and set up related penalties and incentives. In addition, four county (city) governments, including Kinmen, have prepared a draft sent to the local council for review according to the process of scrutiny. As for those that have not prepared yet, the Forestry Bureau has actively assisted them, hoping to combine the power of local governments and communities to jointly safeguard the precious trees.

Every year the Forestry Bureau subsidizes county (city) governments to handle the conservation works of precious trees, such as daily management, disease treatment and educational promotion. In addition, the bureau also publishes books related to tree conservation, such as the manual of street tree planting and maintenance. It can provide technical assistance if necessary.

Management of invasive species

  • Pamphlet about the prevention of the invasive alien species bamboo-climbing frog.
The invasion of alien species is one of the main reasons causing the loss of biodiversity. It not only makes thousands of species extinct every year but also causes irreversible damage to the natural ecosystem and significant losses of the agricultural economy. Given that the invaded species may impact and damage domestic ecological environments or threaten the economy, the experts classify three levels of risk, “priority prevention,” “long-term management” and “observation monitor evaluation.” The Forestry Bureau selects 21 invaded species to be under management and control, keeps monitoring domestic environments, and reviews the watchful list at any time. The bureau actively prevents alien dangerous species from invasion, continues collecting the list of the world’s 100 malignant invasive species from the United Nations IUCN (currently 56 listed), establishes a list of high-risk invasive species after evaluation, and develops related projects implemented by the responsible departments for the purpose of preventing invasion.

Rescue and conservation of cetaceans and sea turtles

  • Coast Guard officers and firefighters rescue beached Risso's dolphins.
The Forestry Bureau spares no effort to handle the conservation of cetaceans and sea turtles. In addition to basic ecological surveys and academic studies, the bureau designates current chelonians and cetaceans as protected wildlife according to the Article 4 of Wildlife Conservation Act, offering them a strict protection given by law. In 1996, the Taiwan Cetacean Stranding Network was set up, hosting nearly 40 sessions of cetacean rescue training and training 2,300 people. In order to timely rescue stranded cetaceans, the network connects local governments’ conservation personnel, Coast Guard Department, Fire Department, International Headquarters S.A.R. Taiwan, private conservation groups, academic research institutions, and museums.

In order to protect Chinese white dolphins(Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin), the Council of Agriculture organized a Chinese white dolphin ad hoc team in 2009, studied the team’s establishment points, held the team’s meetings for nine times, coordinated division of works and solutions to questions, and proposed the “conservation programs of Chinese white dolphin” (draft) for the relevant governmental departments to follow. Now it has announced the “major wildlife habitat of Chinese white dolphin,” planning to determine the area. The total area is around 763 square kilometers, from Miaoli’s Longfeng Harbor in the north, Chiayi’s Waisanding Sand Bar Lighthouse in the south, and 50 meters of the east coastline from the shore (including the estuarine part).

Community forestry

  • The Fenggang Community Development Association performs the play "Carefree Shrike Soars in the Sky".
Forests are an important natural and social resource. Many of the Forestry Bureau’s forestry works, such as biodiversity conservation, forest ecotourism, national trail system, landscape planting, soil and water conservation and production of forest products, are all closely related to the community’s natural ecosystem, cultural heritage, living environment, industrial development and forest resource utility. The community forestry programs attempt to combine community construction and the bureau’s forestry works, establish a way for the community to participate in the forestry management, and carry out many kinds of community empowerment, including strengthening of forestry knowledge and environmental conservation concept, training of community talents, cultivation of concept and skill in forestry management, and heritage of cultural skills. The programs can develop the community’s self-improvement and deepen residents’ sense of mission toward their communities. Through the programs, residents should realize that all natural and human resources in the community are assets and backing in terms of community sustainable development, as well as all residents’ mutual responsibility.

Natural environmental education

  • Huoyanshan Ecological Center hosts a special exhibition on leopard cat conservation.
Implementing the concept of natural conservation depends on all of us to work together, not on a few organizations, groups or individuals. Different ways to let people recognize its importance can enable conservation works to achieve multiple effects with half the effort. Taiwan has a total of 85 protected areas. In order to construct conservation information windows and carry out conservation works, the bureau plans to set up nine eco centers in the neighboring regions of protected areas. They are Mangrove, Lalashan, Huoyanshan, Ershuei Formosan Macaque, Dawushan, Ruisui, Nanao, Alishan and Yuanshan Ecocenters. Their actual functions include providing services of theme exhibition, internet platform, guided tour, film appreciation and education before entering protected areas; hosting children camp, parents-and-children activity and volunteer training; carrying out campus promotion, community empowerment, theme learning and cooperative collaboration.

Restoration and conservation of water terraces and wetland ecosystem

The Forestry Bureau promotes the conservation of wetland biological resources by enhancing the management of wildlife refuges or major wildlife habitats. In addition to properly protecting them, the bureau also actively promotes the conservation of rare wetland species. Moreover, the bureau promotes the restoration and conservation of water terraces and wetland ecosystems by guiding farmers, in a way of ecological fallow reward, to adopt environmentally friendly farming methods and to choose appropriate agricultural lands of subsidence and adjacent fallow paddy fields. It can not only restore deteriorated wetlands and agricultural wetlands with important ecological value, but also connect existing legally protected nature reserves and plain afforestation areas into a wetland ecological corridor in the western coastal area.

Natural landscape

  • The Liji Badlands in Taitung County have just been designated a geological park. (Photograph by Wang Jong-yuan)
Taiwan has rich and diverse special geological landscapes and natural ecosystems. They not only show habitat diversities and breed abundant species, but also stand as precious natural assets. To preserve these fragile and vulnerable assets, the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act designates them as “natural landscape” and “nature reserve” to be saved. Totally Taiwan has 22 nature reserves that preserve the original state in the nation’s precious natural assets from being developed and destroyed. They are in the highest level of the nation’s protected area system with the most serious control. These areas are also the most potential locations for being world natural heritage sites.

In addition, in order to fully survey areas with value of natural landscape, the Forestry Bureau registered 341 conservation sites between 2009 and 2012, of which 48 belong to the national level while 293 belong to the local level. Distinct authorities would follow up based on the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. Those sites especially with conservation value will be designated as nature reserves or other types of protected areas. From 2011, the bureau promotes the “Taiwan Geological Park Network,” transforming four national-level landscapes--columnar basalt in Penghu, Caoling landslide in Yunlin, Yanchao mud volcano in Kaohsiung and Lichi Melange in Taitung--into four geological parks: “Penghu Geopark,” “Yunlin Caoling Geopark,” “Kaohsiung Moon World Geopark” and “Taitung Lichi Melange Geopark.” The purpose is to promote the environmental educational function of landscape conservation to the general schools and public, utilizing governmental resources to lead the power of local communities for landscape promotion. It is expected to make use of sustainable usage and development of landscape resources to achieve the prosperity of local communities.

Table 1: Protected Areas under the Administration of the Forestry Bureau

Nature Reserves

Name Area (ha) Percentage of Taiwan's total land (%)
Danshuei River Mangrove
Pinglin Taiwan Keteleeria
Yuanyang Lake
Nan-ao Broad-leaved Forest
Miaoli Sanyi Huoyanshan
Penghu Columnar Basalt
Taiwan Pleione
Taitung Hongye Village Taitung Cycas
Wushanding Mud Volcano
Dawu Working Circle Taiwan Amentotaxus
Wushihbi Coastal
Kenting Uplifted Coral Reefs
Jiujiu Peaks
Penghu South Sea Columnar Basalt

(total 22 areas)
Total area: 
Land area: 
Marine area: 

Wildlife Refuges

Name Area (ha) Percentage of Taiwan's total land (%)
Penghu County Mao Islet Seabird
Kaohsiung County Sanmin Township Nanzhxian River
Taipei City Waterbird
Tainan City Sicao
Penghu County Wang-an Island Green Turtle Nesting
Dadu River Mouth
Mianhua and Huaping Islets
Lanyang River Mouth Waterbird
Formosan Landlocked Salmon
Taitung County Haiduan Township Xinwulu River Fish
Matsu islands Tern
Hsinchu City Coastal
Tainan County Zengwen River Mouth North Bank Black-faced Spoonbill
Yilan County Shuang-lian-pi
Caomei Wetlands
Taoyuan Gaorong
Feitsui Reservoir Snake-eating(Yellow-margined Box) Turtle
Taoyuan Guan-Xin Algal Reefs Ecosystem

(total 20 areas)
Total area: 
Land area: 
Marine area: 

Major Wildlife Habitats

Name Area (ha) Percentage of Taiwan's total land (%)
Mianhua Islet
Huaping Islet
Taichung County Wuling Formosan Landlocked Salmon
Yilan County Lanyang River Mouth Waterbird
Penghu County Mao Islet
Taipei City Zhongxing and Yungfu Bridges Waterbird
Kaohsiung County Sanmin Township Nanzixian River
Dadu River Mouth
Yilan County Wuweigang
Taitung County Haiduan Township Xinwulu River
Matsu islands
Guanyin Coast
Guanwu Broad-tailed Swallowtail
Syue-shan-keng River
Ruei-yan River
Shuang-guei Lake
Coastal Mountain Range
Keya River Mouth and Sianshan Wetland
Tainan County Zengwen River Mouth
Yilan County Shuang-lian-Pi
Taichung County Gaomei
Tainan City Sicao
Yunlin Huben Fairy Pitta
Chayi County Aogu
Taoyuan Gaorong
Feitsui Reservoir Snake-eating (Yellow-margined Box) Turtle
Taoyuan Guan-Xin Algal Reefs Ecosystem

(total 37 areas)
Total area: 
Land area: 
Marine area: 

Forest Reserves

Name Area (ha) Percentage of Taiwan's total land (%)
Costal Range Taitung Cycas
Guangshan Formosan Date Palm
Dawu Taiwan Keteleeria
Jia-xian Sih-de Fossil

(total 6 areas)
21,171.43 0.58%


Name Area (ha) Percentage of Taiwan's total land (%)
85 areas Minus overlapping portion: 412,904.42
Land area: 
Marine area: 
Visit counts:1980 Last updated on:2016-10-26