Taiwan, China: Montane Forests

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of 2 terrestrial ecoregions: Taiwan subtropical evergreen forests; and South Taiwan monsoon rain forests.

Taiwan, meaning ‘big winds’ in Chinese, is frequently hit by typhoons. It enjoys a tropical monsoon climate with a mean annual temperature of 22oC. Precipitation patterns vary across the length of Taiwan, China. Because the island of Taiwan (China) is located near the border of 2 biological realms - the Palaearctic and Indomalayan, its forests support many tropical species at the northern limit of their ranges.

Taiwan subtropical evergreen forests occupy most of the island including its mountainous interior. South Taiwan monsoon rainforests occupy low elevation coastal areas and some interior mountains at the southern end of the island, located within the Tropic of Cancer.

One-third of all of Taiwan's plants occur here, including 88 orchid species, and 160 plants endemic to the island.
Size:
36,000 sq. km (14,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests

Geographic Location:
Taiwan (China), a large island off the eastern coast of China


Conservation Status:
Vulnerable

Local Species
Two of the 14 bird species that occur in this ecoregion, and are endemic to the island of Taiwan (China) are Taiwan blue pheasant (Lophora swinhoi), and Taiwan long-tailed pheasant (Syrmaticus mikado).

The flora of this East Asian Island includes many distinctive conifers such as Amentotaxus formosana, Cephalotaxus wilsoniana, Chamaecyparis formosensis, Cunninghamia konishii, Picea morrisonicola, Podocarpus fasciculus, Pseudotsuga wilsoniana, and Taiwania cryptomerioides.

Other significant plants include Cycad, Cycas taitungensis, and many angiosperms like Rhododendron, Camellia and Lauraceae, that are representative of the East Asian montane forests.

Mammals include the endemic monkey - Taiwanese macaque (Macaca cyclopis), and other species more widespread but rare, such as serow (Capricornis crispus), sambar (Cervus Unicolor), sitka deer (C. nippon), and Asiatic black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus). Amphibians include the Taipei tree frog (Rhacophorus taipcianus), and Formosan salamander (Hynobius formosanus).

Featured Species

 / ©: WWF-Canon / John MacKINNON
Serow or Mainland serow (Naemorhedus sumatraensis), Tang Jia He Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China.
© WWF-Canon / John MacKINNON
The Serow (Capricornis crispus) is a small bovid, similar in appearance to a goat with a short body and long legs. The typical serow weighs between 30 and 45 kg. The typical height for the adult male and female serow are 73 and 74 cm respectively, to its shoulder. Horns sizes also differ very slightly with adult male horns averaging 32 mm in diameter at the base, and female horns averaging 31 mm in diameter at the base.

There is very little sexual dimorphism between the males and females, suggesting there is not much aggression and competition between males. The serow is a herbivore and typically considered a browser. It is primarily diurnal but also has nocturnal feeding periods.

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Threats
Tourism, uncontrolled collection of wild plants, and large construction projects are some of the major threats to this ecoregion. Habitat in Kenting National Park is threatened by agriculture, mining, road construction, and thermal pollution from a nearby nuclear power plant. A particular threat to forests is people gathering economically important species, such as figs, laurels, bamboo, conifers, and camphor for human use.
WWF’s work
WWF, the Chinese government's Academy of Science and other stakeholders have been working together since 1999 to set up a forest certification system, with private sector groups - including the international buyer Ikea and others - helping to bring the process forward. WWF supports a landscape approach that helps local government and communities balance the different demands they place on forest resources.

In May 2001, the first meeting of the 'Working Group on Forest Certification in China' was held in Beijing, with the State Forest Administration as supervisor, and the Sustainable Forestry Research Center, Chinese Academy of Forestry, and WWF responsible for the day to day management. The group discussed developing forest certification policies and raising awareness. In December 2001, a series of workshops aimed at forest managers were held by the Working Group on Forest Certification.

Currently, WWF is raising awareness in China through the publication of a newsletter and brochure on forest certification. An East Asia Pacific Forest Certification website, that will include China specific guidelines in both Chinese and English, is in preparation.


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