Dawu Taiwan Keteleeria Forest Reserve

Primary Object for Protection Keteleeria formosan Hayata
Size of Area (ha) 5.04
Scope of Administration Compartment 41 of Dawu Working Circle for National Forest
Authority in-charge-of Taitung Forest District Office, Forestry Bureau
History National forest reserve was established in 1981; the nature reserve was established according to the official document No. 0951700407, issued by Forestry Bureau on April 10 2006.


Because of intensive development in industry and economy in recent years, the competition between human and nature has become fierce and natural resources have been largely exploited either of massive development or employment. Due to the damage done to the ecological structure and habitat, some species with smaller ecological environments are turning endangered or extinct, rendering decreased social stability to an unbalanced development of overall ecological system in the end. In view of it, Taiwan Forestry Bureau has, starting from 1976, begun the research of " Forest Reserves Investigation and Establishment Project," and finished the draft and initial blueprint for 35 reserve sites in 1988. At the same time, Council of Agriculture and Ministry of Economic Affairs have designated 11 rare plants on August 22, 1988 according to “Cultural Heritage Preservation Act and Keteleeria formosan Hayata is one of them.

Keteleeria formosan Hayata is the endemic species of Taiwan. It is a relic plant of evergreen tree. The plant has an irregular distribution at northern to southern tips of Taiwan. Some scholars believe that when Taiwan and Mainland China were in one piece, its distribution radiates; however, when Taiwan Strait was formed, separating Taiwan and China, the distribution was interrupted, and current distribution was formed.

In the north, the tree can be seen along the watershed of Po-liao River and Jing-gua-liao River; watershed of Jiao-si Shi-bei and the ridge of Pinglin are found along the powerline, with the altitude running between 300 and 600 meters high. Some trees are planted in Taipei Botanical Garden. In the south, the trees are found over Compartments 30 and 41 Dawu Working Circle for National Forest and Keteleeria formosana Hayata in the area is distributed at mountain between 600 and 700 meters high. The trees grow on the top of the ridge or windward slope because it needs plenty of sunshine. Since most of trees are very old and so, there are few new sprouts, it is an aged plant system, which is low in numbers, fertility, making natural replacement difficult.

To keep the survival of the trees, “Dawu Taiwan Keteleeria Forest Reserve” was set up according to Article 13 on “Taiwan Forest Management Reformation Act,” which was proclaimed in 1981. The primary object for protection is Keteleeria formosana Hayata. On April 10, 2006, the area was announced as a nature forest reserve in accordance to the amended Forestry Law with Announcement 0951700407 of Forestry Bureau.


Dawu Taiwan Keteleeria Forest Reserve in Da-ren Township, Taitung County, about 80 kilometers away from the southwest of Taitung City, sits across Compartment 41 of Dawu Working Circle for National Forest. The reserve is found on the northeast slope of Cha-cha-ya-lai Mountain on the southern of Central Mountains. The northern ridge connects to Cha-cha-dun Mountain of 941 meters in height along the branch of Dawu River in the west, while the southern ridge faces Jia-jhih-lai Mountain of 1,078 meters in height in the depth of mountains with difficult transportation. The place is loosely populated and has few visitors, making it with little human interference.

The reverse measures to as large as 1.44 ha, running with height from 600 to 700 meters. During 1972, when Taitung Forest District Office conducted forest alteration, the staff found it to be of rare plant and kept them where they were. Then, the area could be accessed directly from Dawu forest road. Since forest plantation project of Formosan ash, Acacia confusa, and Malacca albizia of the forest road is completed, the district office, for restoration, never rebuilds that road, which had been ruined about 20 years before. Currently, a walk will take visitors 5 hours approximately as you want to reach the border of the nature reserve through the entrance to Compartment 38 Dawu Working Circle for National Forest.

An Introduction

The area lies within temperate and humid zone, with moderate temperature and lots of rainfall. Enjoying annual average temperature at 15.8 ºC, its average temperature in January is 8.5 ºC and that in July is 20.5 ºC. The average annual rainfall is 3,570 mm, while the rain season spans from May to September, with its dry season is running from October to next April. The differences between dry and rainy season are most prominent, and the humidity in the area is very high. Because of such high humidity, there is often heavy fog, generating poor visibility. Wind blows southeasterly when it usually rains in spring and summer and otherwise, wind blows northeasterly when little does it rain in other two seasons.

Geology all over Dawu Taiwan Keteleeria Forest Reserve area is classed with Wu-lai system, consisting of bright medium-size sandstone and black slates. When we check the profile of earth across the reserve, we find that the color varies in depth. Majority of it is found podzolic and otherwise, any amount of humus full of organics, emerging in dark grey, is found in the soil near the ridge and nearby forest on the gentle slope. In addition, this kind of soil is featured by its loose composure of great permeability.

Biological Resources

The flora in the area can be divided into two types. The environment and tree species of each type is detailed as followed:

A、Cinnamomum osmophloeum - Keteleeria formosana Hayata type

The characteristic of the type is Cinnamomum osmophloeum; the dominant species are Keteleeria formosana Hayata, Cyclobalanopsis hypophaea, Quercus longinux, Diospyros eriantha, and Rhaphiolepis indica tas. Companion species are Formosan Podocarpus nagi, Acer albopurpurascens, Urai holly, Schefflera Tree, Rhododendron mariesii, Common glochidion, Cyclobalanopsis glauca, Scolopia oldhamii Hance, Red Bark Slugwood, Randaishan Cinnamon, Litsea hypophaea Hayata, Myrsine sequinii, Fraxinus insularis Hemsl, Taiwan eugenia, Osmanthus matsumuranu, Osmanthus lanceolatus Hayata, Taiwan Photinia, Psychortia rubra, False coffee, Cork-leaved Snow-bell, Symplocos theophrastaefolia Sieb, Ormosia hengchuniana, Gardenia jasminoides Ellis. The dominant plants of vegetation are Cuming croton, Carex baccans Nees, and Daphne arisanensis Hayata.

B、China Tuliptree - Quercus longinux type

The characteristic of the type is China Tuliptree, and the dominant tree species in the area are Picea morrisonicola, China Tuliptree, Castanopsis carlesii, Cyclobalanopsis longinux, Randaishan Cinnamon, Myrsine sequinii, Taiwan eugenia, Rhaphiolepis indica tas.

With a survey on the plants conducted in the area, there are in total 49 families, 72 genuses, and 96 species found in the area. Among them are listed 15 rare species of plants, which are:
  • China Tuliptree;
  • Formosan Podocarpus nagi;
  • Fissistigma glaucescens;
  • Melodinus angustifolius Hay;
  • Koeberliniaceae;
  • Castanopsis fabri;
  • Cyclobalanopsis longinux;
  • Cinnamomum osmophloeum;
  • Machilus obovatifolia;
  • Taxus mairei;
  • Magnolia kachirachirai;
  • Fraxinus insularis Hemsl;
  • Callicarpa remotiserrulata Hayata;
  • Taiwanan oectochilus;
  • water vine.

Current Conservation Status

As observed from the site, there was no new sprout to be found of Keteleeria formosan Hayata at the forest exposure area and upper area to less light and with dense leaves. However, sprouts are at the upper forest area receiving proper sunlight and with loose leaves. The young sprouts of Keteleeria formosan Hayata in northern Pinglin is mostly distributed along the nearby slope at the mountain ridge, and it is considered that relatively proper sunlight is favorable for the growth of young sprouts.

To hasten the growth of sprouts, scientists have conducted light experiment in a small area for optimal lighting as a reference for the growing natural sprouts. High percentage of the tree cones makes it difficult to nurture seedlings with larger amount outside the protected area. For now, one can merely experiment with tissue culture or asexual reproduction, while failure with the research on conjugation of seed grafting remains to overcome.

Furthermore, to protect Keteleeria formosan Hayata, it is found that proper sunlight is helpful to growth of young sprouts and however, such plant usually community succession into a stable and flourished close forest, which will suppress growth of sprouts. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct proper logging of some comparatively insignificant species of such trees as Myrsine sequinii during mid-stage forest suession development for space so that there can be sufficient sunlight to help nurture the sprout of the tree.

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Visit counts:2975 Last updated on:2017-08-01