Taitung Hongye Village Taitung Cycas Nature Reserve

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Information

Date of Proclamation June 27, 1986
Size of Area (ha) 290.46
Primary Object for Protection Cycas taitungensis
Scope of Administration Compartment 19,23 and 40 of Yan-ping working circle
Authority in-charge-of Taitung Forest District Office

Origin

In the past, the Cycas taitungensis was often classified as the Cycas taiwaniana. Commonly known as Cycads, it is one of the oldest “living fossils” in the world, and has been around for 140 million years. Due to destructive logging and stealing, the number of Cycas taitungensis has decreased drastically, and they are now rarely seen in the wild. The area around the Taitung Cycad Nature Reserve has the greatest number of wild cycads in Taiwan and has the best growth rate.

In order to prevent stealing and to continue reproduction, the Forestry Bureau declared this area as the “Taiwan Cycad Reserve” in 1980. In June 1986, the Council of Agriculture renamed the area as the “Taitung Cycad Nature Reserve”, and the following year, announced that the plant was a rare and valuable species that needed protection.

Location

The area is situated on the steep slopes along the Luye Stream in Taitung County. It is under the jurisdiction of compartment 19, 23 and 40, Yan-Ping Working Circle, Taitung Forest District under the Forestry Bureau. Its altitude is between 300 and 900 m, stretching across an area of 7 km, covering 290.46 ha. The area can be reached if one drives from HongYe Elementary School (home of the local junior league baseball) along the north bank of the Luye Stream. The Cycas taitungensis can be found on the gravel slopes along the stream.

An Introduction

The climate in this area is warm and humid in summer, cool and dry in winter. The average temperature is 23℃. Coldest months average at 15℃, and warmest ones average 28.7℃. The annual rainfall is around 2,348mm, which mainly falls between May to October. The dry season is between November to April. The earth composition is not very firm, consisting of Eocene slate and phylite, and black schist from the late Palaeozoic era to the Mesozoic era. The soil is mostly sandy loam, which is very suitable for the roots of cycads to extend. The landscape of the area is mountainous, with Longmen Peak being the tallest peak. Valleys, streams, and waterfalls can be found in the area, with butterflies fluttering around. Tracks of wild animals can be seen along the banks of the stream. Humans rarely come to the area, therefore there is very little pollution. The place is like heaven on Earth.

Biological Resources

The Taitung Cycad (Cycas taitungensis Shen, Hill, Tsou & Chen.) is endemic to Taiwan, and is a gymnosperm plant belonging to the Cycadaceae class. It usually grows between 1 to 5 m in height. It is a dioecious plant, with flat round seeds that are rich in starch, which serves as food for smaller mammals. The shape of the tree is elegant, and is a popular garden plant. But because of its economic value, it is often stolen, especially the seeds and the saplings. The Cycadaceae class is one of the oldest plant classes on Earth and was one of the most abundant ones, but with the change in environment over time, most Cycadaceae classes became extinct. There are no more than 15 Cycadaceae species at the moment, therefore wild cycads are very precious and need to be protected.

The Cycas taitungensis can only be found in Guangdong, Fujian, the Chenggong working circle on the Eastern coast of Taiwan, and in this area by the Luye Stream. It prefers the sun to moisture, therefore it is usually found on steep slopes. Miscanthus floridulus, Arundo formosana, and Arundinella setosa can be found growing together in areas with less soil. In areas with more soil, Cyclobalanopsis glauca, Liquidambar formosana, and Pinus taiwanensis Hayata can be found too. On the flatter areas, Lauraceae-Machilus breed plants make up the majority of the plants. There are 88 classes, 183 sub-classes, and 213 types of plants found in the area.

Conservation Results Till Now

Cycads have thick bodies, elegant shapes, and grow easily. In Chinese tradition, it is a good sign for cycads to bloom, therefore it has always been a popular garden plant and was once threatened by stealing. As a result, the Forestry Bureau has enhanced patrols, also as a way to prevent this ancient plant’s extinction. In June 1986, this area was announced as a nature reserve, and has annual preservation plans. A preservation station was built on the boundary of the area to carry out patrols and observations. It also serves to prevent stealing of seeds and saplings of the plant. With the enhanced patrolling of on-site staff, saplings have gradually been discovered. There are 1,744 coded trees at the moment. As cycads are not resistant to damp areas, they can mainly be found in areas of the valley facing the sun. The environment not facing the sun is under competition from damp resistant plants. To prevent extinction of the species, the Taitung Forest District has cultivated saplings in the Taitung tree nursery. This indirectly reduces damage to wild cycads and also provides for market needs and reduces stealing.

With the Luye Stream running through the area, there are plentiful wild animals, especially mammals and butterflies. Research should be done in the future to record their information.
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Visit counts:1358 Last updated on:2018-03-08