Progress Report of the Taiwan Ecological Research Network,



King, Hen-biau1 and Yue-joe Hsia2

1Taiwan Forestry Research Institute

2 National Dong-hwa University, China-Taipei





The Taiwan Ecological Research Network (TERN) was launched in 1992. There are currently five long-term ecological research (LTER) sites mainly sponsored by the National Science Council of Taiwan. The descriptions of the TERN sites were reported in the book prepared by the International LTER Office published in 1998 and also by a pamphlet printed by the TERN Office (1999). Many research and administrative activities relevant to the LTER program after the Second East Asia-Pacific Regional LTER Conference in March 1997, in Tsukuba, Japan are briefly reported here.

The promotion of LTER concept to some governmental organizations, press media and general public throught various means have been very successful for the last two years. For instance, the TERN program was introduced to the general public through many news media (such as magazines, newspapers, television and radio broadcasting programs). With the adoption of the concept of establishing long-term baseline database for management decision makings, the National Park Department of the Construction and Planning Administration, the Ministry of Interior, additional LTER sites will be established all six national parks (currently, two TERN sites are already existed in the national parks).

Major international LTER research activities were conducted during the fiscal years of 1998 and1999. Here are a few examples and the projects and their results are briefly presented here.

Right after the Tsukuba LTER conference in March 1997, a group of TERN scientist visited four forest CERN sites (Dinghushan, Heshan, Hiotong and Xishungbana) in May 1997. A tentative agreement was made to conduct further collaborative research projects and hold workshops.

 In May 1998 the US   National Science Foundation hosted a group of Taiwan’s administrators and scientists visiting the H.J. Andrews forest LTER sites. Research results and on-going projects of the site showed the insight, importance, values, necessity and irreplacability of long-term research in ecosystem. The project of a 200-year long research on decomposition of large tree logs was truly impressing to the visitors. The application of some results on ecosystem management was appreciated.

In June 1998, fourteen scientists and students from US LTER sites had the opportunity to visit two TERN sites (Fu-shan sub-tropical and Nan-jen-shan tropical forests) and related research facilities. This trip reciprocated a visit in 1997 when eight students and junior scientists from TERN sites visited H.J. Andrews LTER site in the US. Another group of TERN students again visited the H.J. Andrews LTER site in the summer in the summer of the 1999. The benefits of the reciprocal visiting program are many. For examples, about six bilateral collaborative projects are proposed and planned (see US LTER Network News (12) p. 13-14 and TERN News Summer 1999, p. 7-8)

         A workshop on the “Typhoon and Hurricane disturbances on forest Dynamics” was held in September 1999 between representatives of US Luquillo LTER site and TERN sites. The discussants identified four areas of ongoing environmental monitoring where joint publications among sites would clarify the role of cyclonic storms in affecting ecosystem and community processes: (1) precipitation, stream discharge, and nutrient flux from watersheds; (2) litter deposition and decomposition; (3) canopy dynamics, (4) tree community dynamics; (5) animal populations and (6) GIS and remote sensing.  Future plans will focus on cross-site comparisons in the biodiversity and functions of insects, wood decompositions and mineralization, riparian management and ecological modeling.

         Future plans of the TERN activities include: (1) promoting to establish additional TERN sites such as agricultural, coastal and urban LTER sites in Taiwan; (2) keeping on conducting reciprocal scientists visiting program, cross-site comparison studies, NGI application system regionally and internationally.