PABITRA - Sites for Long-Term Ecological Research in Taiwan

Chang-Hung Chou

Institute of Botany, Academia Sinica,, Taipei, Taiwan 115

Taiwan is located at 21o45' - 25o38' N and 120o10' - 122o E, about 130 kin off the southeastern coast of mainland China and has an area of 35,960 km2. About two-thirds of the islands is occupied by mountains, and there are more than sixty peaks that exceed 3,000 m in elevation. Taiwan has a subtropical and tropical climate with an annual precipitation ranging from 2,124 mm to 3,575 mm and mean monthly temperature ranging from 12.4 to 200 C. The diverse environmental conditions and habitats result in a great diversity of flora and fauna Forest covers about 52% of the total land area of Taiwan and forms the predominant terrestrial ecosystems, which comprise hardword forest, conifer forest and grassland ecosystems. In addition, in the estuary area of the western coast, there is a unique mangrove forest ecosystem, which possesses a great diversity of marine organisms. Rapid industrial development and extensive human activity as well as natural disturbances, e.g.. typhoons, soil erosion, and landslides are common, and persistent forces change and regulate the species composition. structure. stability, and productivity of ecosystems in Taiwan. Long-term monitoring of ecological factors and a database of the environmental parameters would be very useful references for decision makers, particularly in environmental policy and regulations. Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) is thus particularly necessary for sustainable development in Taiwan.

The main objectives of LTER in Taiwan are (1) to understand long-term ecological changes in Taiwan, (2) to elucidate the mechanisms involved in ecological processes, (3) to provide suitable ecological information for social and economic development, and (4) to merit membership in an international LTER network in order to provide ecological information of regional and global interest. Taiwan PABITRA sites for LTER have put emphasis upon the structure and function of the forest ecosystem as well as on the hydrological and nutrient flux of that ecosystem. Five PABITRA sites for LTER in Taiwan are as follows:

1. Fushan Forest Ecosystem, 2. Yuenyang Lake Ecosystem, 3. Guandaushi Forest Ecosystem, 4. Nanjenshan Forest Ecosystem, and 5. Tatachia Montane Ecosystem.

The aforementioned five LTER sites in Taiwan provide information regarding representative forest and lake ecosystems in the subtropical and tropical region of Taiwan. The Taiwan LTER program is also in the scope of IGBP and is much related to the international scientific programs, such as Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem (GCTE) and Diversitas (DIWPA), which was recently established by the IUBS, SCOPE and UNESCO. The sites are also good for PABITRA to study the flora and fauna in the horizontal transection of the Western Pacific. The research findings are available for scientific interest and the guidance of government in improving forest and environmental management. They are also valuable for the ecological and environmental education that may increase our people's awareness of the importance of natural conservancy.


Abstract from: XIX Pacific Science Congress, July 4-9, 1999, Sydney, Australia.

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Last Updated: 11/26/99