The Biota of Taiwan: The Tropic of Cancer traverses at about the center of Taiwan. Although most areas belong to subtropics, glaciers are found on some mountain tops. There are more than one hundred peaks with altitude above 3,000 meters in Taiwan. This topographical diversity also results in high diversity of biota. There are about 60 species of mammals, over 400 species of birds, 90 species of reptiles, and 30 species of amphibians in Taiwan. The number of insect species is estimated to be over 50,000. The flora consists of more than 4,000 species of plants, of which there are about 600 species of ferns. Among these fauna and flora, about 20% are endemic species.
The National Park System: There are six National Parks (N.P.) in Taiwan. All have different features as a National Park. Kenting N. P., the first designated National Park in Taiwan, was established in 1984 and features its marine ecosystem and uplifted coral reefs. Yushan National Park was named after Taiwan's highest peak, and is famous for its mountainous terrain. Yangmingshan National Park is located in the northern part of the Capital city, Taipei. It is easily accessible and features a unique volcanic landscape and hot springs. Taroko National Park had been the most attractive tourist area in Taiwan even before it became a National Park. Its marble gorges and sheer cliffs are the most famous features which attract millions of tourists each year. Shei-Pa National Park was named after two high peaks, the Sheishan and Tapachienshan, or Mount Snow and Mount Great Bold Tip. Besides its high mountains, Shei-Pa N. P. has beautiful mountain streams. The sixth National Park, Jinman, was just announced in 1995. It was designated for its battlefields, beautiful countryside, and as important stopover sites for many migratory bird species. It is actually a military base of Taiwan off the southeastern coast of mainland China.
Special topics on ecotourism, especially birdwatching, will be presented for each National Park later on.
(Written by Dr. C.C. Chen, 1996, TSA)