Due to Taiwan’s unique geographical location, warm climate, abundant rainfall, inter-connecting mountain peaks, stretching rivers and valleys, and considerable differences in vertical height, 60.7% of Taiwan is covered by forests. The island's rich ecological diversity thus gives birth to an abundance of animals and plants. More than 58,000 species have currently been identified, of which about 30% are endemic species to Taiwan. The high proportion of endemic species and their preciousness and rarity are renowned throughout the world and have signiﬁcant importance in both academic research and resource conservation. In light of the rapid depletion of world resources due to overdevelopment, we have to cherish and protect our resources to achieve our aims of sustainably managing natural resources and creating a harmonious environment for the co-existence of humans and nature.
◎ Habitat Management
(A) Habitat Protection
To ensure the effective preservation of Taiwan’s precious flora and fauna resources, the government has classified the ecosystems unique to Taiwan and areas with rich wild flora and fauna resources as protected areas (as shown below). In 2000, a "Central Mountain Range Conservation Corridor" of about 300 km in length was established to connect the various protected areas from south to north to protect the integrity of Taiwan’s core ecosystems. Regular review of and amendments to the management plans of the protected areas are conducted to improve the efficacy of protected area management. Between 2009 and 2011, the Forestry Bureau completed the management assessment of 43 protected areas. Beginning in 2015, the Mid-term Rapid Assessment of the protected areas has been conducted, of which 13 protected areas have been assessed to provide a reference for the adjustment and improvement of management of the protected areas. Each protected area is scheduled for one Overall Management Effectiveness Assessment every ten years and one Mid-term Rapid Assessment every ﬁve years.
(B) Landscape Conservation
The conservation of natural landscapes is an important mission that the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act has entrusted to the Forestry Bureau. An investigation of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu in 2009 recorded a total of 341 landscape conservation spots, of which 48 spots are national conservation spots and 293 are local conservation spots. The investigation also included the mudstone badlands in Penghu, Caoling (Yunlin County), Yanchao (Kaohsiung City), and Liji (Taitung) as pilot geopark locations in order to establish the National Geopark Network in Taiwan and implement the four core missions of geoparks: "landscape conservation", "environmental education", "community development", and "landscape tours", in order to cooperate with local governments and communities and achieve the aims of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
The Forestry Bureau is a consultant unit of the Biodiversity Working Group of the National Council for Sustainable Development, Executive Yuan. To ensure effective comprehension of the implementation progress and results of the sustainable development plans of the working group, throughout the years the relevant departments have always proposed implementation policies and presented overviews of the implementation as a reference for the stipulation of biodiversity policies. They are also responsible for the following: recording and organizing long-term information about wildlife resources in Taiwan; collecting images, texts, and scientiﬁc information on the species in Taiwan to build a "Taiwan Encyclopedia of Life" database of international standards; and continuously promoting biodiversity educational events and exhibitions to increase public knowledge of local biodiversity and the focus on biodiversity in government departments.
(D) Promotion of Community Forestry
As the forests in Taiwan span large areas, cooperation among neighboring communities is required. In the spirit of "promoting forestry and inviting the people into the forests", the Forestry Bureau began promoting the "Community Forestry Project" in 2002 to encourage local communities and organizations to participate in the preservation of ecology, assist in the creation of a quality living environment for the community, expand channels for public involvement in national forest management, and guide the integration of community development and forestry policies, thus achieving the aims of integrating community development in the management of national forests and natural resources. As of 2015, 930 communities have received subsidies for the implementation of over 2,200 projects, amongst which 702 projects have been targeted towards aboriginal tribes, reaching a total of NT$300 million in the budget. The projects have achieved signiﬁcant success. In 2013, the "Community Ecology Cloud" electronic commerce system was established to assist in the promotion of community ecology experiences and local characteristic products, building a sustainable environment in which "smart ecology is everywhere".
(E) Restoration and Conservation of Terrace Fields and Wetlands Ecosystems
To preserve the ecological environments of the water terrace fields and irrigation systems, which have ecological, landscape, and cultural preservation values and provide important functions related to sustaining aquatic biodiversity and a sound ecosystem, the Forestry Bureau will guide farmers in adopting friendly farming techniques or organic farming methods to produce or maintain traditional crops that have cultural and leisure market values. This is also to protect the ecosystem and use sustainable methods to manage the land and natural resources. Located in Chenglong (Yunlin County), Bayan Village (New Taipei City), Gongliao terrace ﬁelds (New Taipei City), Fengbin (Hualien County), and Tainan Pheasant-tailed Jacana Ecological Education Park, terrace ﬁelds or wetlands that balance production, livelihood, and ecology have been selected as pilot demonstration areas. These pilot areas will conform to the vision of "Harmonious Co-Existence of People and Nature" of the 2010 Satoyama Protocol and achieve the beneﬁts of the aforementioned production, livelihood, and ecology.
◎ Wildlife Management
(A) Wildlife Conservation and Preservation of Traditional Aboriginal Culture and Rituals
In accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act, the Forestry Bureau has promoted the implementation of wildlife conservation measures, such as arresting individuals with violations, investigating protected wildlife and products, providing wildlife treatment and shelter, rescuing and handling whales and dolphins, and educational promotion. Furthermore, in order to handle the protected wildlife and products confiscated in accordance with regulations or in matters pertaining to injured wildlife, six wildlife shelter and treatment centers have been set up in various departments, such as Taipei City Zoo, to establish a wildlife rescue mechanism.
To respect the traditional hunting culture of the aboriginal tribes, as well as provide a guideline for the use of wildlife in the traditional rites and rituals of various aboriginal tribes, the "Regulation Governing Hunting Wildlife for Traditional Cultural or Ritual Purposes by Taiwan Aborigines" was promulgated on June 6th, 2012, and the announced amendment was promulgated in June 2015. The purpose of the regulation is to establish information on traditional cultures and rituals and clearly list the time of the rituals of the tribes, hunting methods, and type of animals hunted. Through advance notification, the hunting of wildlife by aboriginal people is eﬀectively managed, and a balance can be struck between wildlife conservation and the preservation of aboriginal wisdom and hunting culture, thus ensuring a win-win situation for all involved.
(B) Wildlife Management and Forensics System (Including Whale and Dolphin Rapid Test Paper)
In conjunction with the investigation of violation cases by government departments, research and development of the Forensics System for wildlife and their products is conducted with the aims of improving identification capacities and developing eﬃcacy. A Wildlife Forensics Virtual Center has been established at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, and through the rapid Internet and convenience of operation, forensic results can be easily obtained, thus reducing the time needed for customs authorities and local governments for tracking, arrests, and forensics. Furthermore, the Bureau has built three wildlife products forensics laboratories and one wildlife products handling center for handling conﬁscated wildlife products, published over 20 types of identiﬁcation guides for wildlife test and their products, and developed the world’s first whale and dolphin meat rapid test paper to promote international forensics technology exchange with other countries, including the USA.
(C) Wildlife Export/Import and Invasive Species Prevention
Wildlife and their products are used in a variety of international trades, such as traditional medicine, crafts, appreciation, and pets, so it is one of the main factors threatening the existence of animals in the world. To ensure normal international trade and global biodiversity, in addition to complying with the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora", the Forestry Bureau has also stipulated the "Guidelines Governing Review of Applications for Permission to Export or Import Live Wildlife and Their Products" to establish a reviewing platform for live wildlife and their products, reduce administrative procedures, connect with international protocols, and manage the import/export of wildlife in accordance with international trends. The strengthening of the management of wildlife logistics will ensure the sustained survival of wildlife species.
The key priority in preventing and controlling invasive species is blocking invasive species from entering the borders, strengthening customs control, and, upon evaluating the potential ecological and economic damages posed by the invasion, establishing a high-risk invasive species list. Afterward, follow-up action should be taken against invasive species, such as Polypedates megacephalus and Anolis sagrei (Dumeril & Bibron, 1837) to monitor and remove the species. Ecological conservation will also be promoted in place of inappropriate religious releasing to preserve the ecological environment of Taiwan and reduce the economic and social impacts of invasive species.
(D) Wildlife Damage Management
Wildlife damage is the loss caused by wildlife interactions with human, agricultural crops, and other man-made facilities. With a growing human population, expansion of land utilization and an increase in wildlife population, likewise conflicts will only become more severe and complicated. Therefore, the Forestry Bureau has stipulated the "Action Plan for Prevention of Formosan Macaques from Destroying Agricultural Crops" to investigate the key hotspots of the damages, as well as strengthen propaganda and law enforcement to prevent the over-interaction between humans and macaques. In accordance with the "Wildlife Conservation Act", scientific, professional, and humanitarian measures are conducted. Currently, low damage electric fences, fruit tree monkey-deterrent nets, hormonal interference, and contraception measures are utilized to keep the number of monkeys in control. These measures are expected to reasonably reduce the size of the monkey population and reduce the agricultural damage in high conﬂict areas to promote harmonious co-existence of humans and monkeys under the pretext of not harming the Formosan Macaques.
(E) Preservation of Valuable Old Trees
Having accompanied the pioneers during the early development of the tribes, Taiwan’s old trees are inseparable from the lives and religions of the locals and hold significant value in terms of both cultural and land identity. Currently, 16 counties/cities have stipulated old tree preservation acts in accordance with local governance regulations. Projects content include investigating old trees, establishing comprehensive data, advocating correct concepts of old tree preservation, improving habitats, and preventing pests and diseases. On July 1st, 2015, the "Forestry Act" was amended to include the "Chapter for the Protection of Trees". The aim of the amendment was to preserve the health of the trees and growth environment with conservation value to prevent the loss of precious trees due to land development while achieving a uniform standard for the protection of non-forest trees. In the future, the government will stipulate the training of professional personnel and conduct examinations and grading systems to ensure a sound tree protection mechanism and the overall improvement of the protection system.
Last updated on:2017-11-21