Ruei-yan River Major Wildlife Habitat

Name Ruei-yan River Major Wildlife Habitat
Primary Protected 
Forest Ecosystem
Area (Hectares) 2574
Location Compartments 131-6 of Puli Working Circle for National Forest
Central Management 
Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan
Local Management 
Nantou Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau
Date Established October 19, 2000


Council of Agriculture on October 19, 2000 announced that “Ruei-yan River Major Wildlife Habitat” had been established to preserve the abundant species ranging over the zone at higher than 2,000 meters above sea level. The wildlife habitat is located in Ren-ai Township, Nantou County, sharing majority of the mountainous region over central Taiwan and having alpine grasslands, virgin forests of conifers and hardwoods, and the one blended with both. It not only provides a refuge for wildlife but also has the greatest richness of vegetation at this height across the Island.


This major wildlife habitat has an area of 1,450 ha and an altitude of between 1,210 and 3,416 meters, sitting in the southern river basin of the river through Ren-ai Township, which was named after Ruei-yan River, one of the tributaries whose water pour into the upper reach of Beigang Creek. It covers Compartments 131-6 of Puli Working Circle for National Forest administered by Nantou Forest District Office. The wildlife habitat borders Taroko National Park in the east through the ridgeline from the main peak of Hehuan Mountain to Kunyang and additionally, the south, west and north borders are respectively the ridgeline from Kunyang to Cuei-fong Mountains, the east boundaries of Compartments 131-2 of Puli Working Circle for National Forest and 100-meter line in parallel with the north bank of Ruei-yan Creek.

An Introduction

There is a diverse plant community distributing over zone, at between 2,220 and 2,300 meters above sea level, being buried with a 10-kilometer pipe used to supply water for Chingjing Farm and neighboring orchards. A great many bushes, mosses and lichens, which birds often inhabit to breed their young generations, grow over the steep cliffs formed during burial of that water pipe, from demolition of upper part. Additionally, it also covers forest types comprised of varieties of chestnut-leaved trees and woods having Alnus Formosana Mak.

The wildlife habitat has an altitude of between 1,210 and 3,416 meters. The Lu-shan stratum of earth on hillside fields that face northwards, formed during the Miocene Epoch, primarily consist of hard shale, slate and Phyllite. The slightly affected rock stratum formed through metamorphoses is responsible for fully developed cleavages, steep terrains and soil. However, the soil is mostly washed away, and only a small amount are found on some low hills.

The annual rainfall is between 3,000 and 4,000 mm. The peaks, higher than 2,000 meters, are frequently encircled by clouds and heavy fogs and thus, it is attributed to “Cloud Forest Zone.” In addition, it usually snows between December and February.

Biological Resources

Ruei-yan Creek Major Wildlife Habitat lies in the heart of Taiwan. You will find alpine grasslands and alpine bush at the zone having an altitude of 1,210 meters or virgin forests of conifers and hardwoods at the region having an altitude of 3,416 meters. Being rarely trodden by human beings, the area’s original appearance is preserved. Besides, it also has a variety of plants and animals as can be found in forest and river ecosystems.

Plants in this region can be divided into four categories. The first one is a tree normally found in forests like yew, Formosan red cypress, schima superba, Formosan michelia, zelkova serrata (Thub.) Makino and cephalotaxus wilsoniana. The second one are plants, such as herbs and timber, mountain cinnamon tree, hedera rhombea (Miq.) Bean var. formosana, Mahonia oiwakensis, Japanese Mahonia, Aspidistra attenuata, champion Bauhinia, Giant knotweed, Daiswa chinensis and Formosan Anoectochilus. The third are ornamental plants like Cymbidium ensifolium, Haraella retrocalla, cymbidium karan, cymbidium lancifoliumCendrobium chryseum and Holcoglossum. The last type is species specific to Taiwan such as Hymenophyllum devolii, Polystichum manmeiense, Prunus taiwaniana Hayata, Epiphytic azaleas, woolly-styled Rhododendron, Viscum alniformosana Hayata, Symplocos nokoensis (Hayata) kanehira, Sinapanax formosana and Rubus liuii Yang & Lu.

There are three kinds of animals in this area. The first are big mammals like Formosan black bear, leopard cat, Formosan sambar, Formosan wild boar, Formosan rock-monkey, Formosan hare, Formosan gem-faced civet, Formosan reeve’s muntjac, Formosan ferret-badger, white-faced flying squirrel, Formosan red-bellied tree squirrel, Formosan stripped squirrel and Chinese mink. The second are small rodents such as Formosan mountain field vole, Formosan field mouse, Formosan white-bellied rat, Taiwan long-tailed shrew and Formosan burrowing shrew. The last one are birds such as Mikado Pheasant, Swinhoe Blue Pheasant, Eurasia Tawny Owl, White-backed Woodpecker, Formosan blue magpie, crested serpent eagle and Asian crested goshawk. In addition, there are many species of amphibians and snakes, and countless species of butterflies are drawn to plants growing on both sides of the River.

There are four forest types in the area.
  1. Hardwood Forest covers the area at less than 2,000 meters above sea level, having little schima superba and Formosan michelia as well as majority of vegetations from Lauraceae and Fagaceae. Some Cephalotaxus wilsoniana grow in areas higher than 1,700 meters above sea level, along with Urticaceae, Acanthaceae and ferns.
  2. Forest Mixed with Conifers & Hardwoods cover areas between 2,000 and 2,700 meters above sea level, having plants from Fagaceae at the upper part, the coniferous trees such as Cephalotaxus wilsoniana, Formosan yews and cypress and vegetations from Urticaceae, Liliaceae and ferns.
  3. Coniferous Forest covers the area between 2,300 and 3,350 meters high. At this height, there are three forest types. First, cypresses are found on regions between 2,300 and 2,600 meters above sea level. Second, Tsuga Chinensis Pritz is in the area between 2,400 and 3,000 meters above sea level. Finally, Taiwan Fir grows in areas higher than 3,000 meters above sea level, along with vegetation such as Plagiogyria Formosan and Yushan cane.
  4. Alpine Bush & Grasslands are found in areas higher than 2,800 meters and between borders and ridges, with vegetation such as Yushan Azaleas, Rhododendron Rubropilosum Hayata, Juniperus Formosan and Yushan Canes.

Current Conservation Status

Establishment of several major wildlife habitats not only looks to answer the needs for research of the academic community but also seeks to provide an educational opportunity for the general public. Academics can undertake researches in species diversity and on how to preserve their genes. The public can have a better idea of how arbitrary human behavior impacts nature.

Ruei-yan River Major Wildlife Habitat faces two threats. On one hand, many villagers draw water from its preserved areas to irrigate their fields cultivated with vegetables or tea trees. On the other hand, there are some cases of illegal hunting or logging.

To confront these threats, the government has undertaken two measures. First, frequent patrols have been organized in the area. Second, a station from where conservation staff could monitor illegal hunting or logging has been established and training courses have been organized.

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Visit counts:2412 Last updated on:2016-07-13