Biodiversity Conservation in Taiwan

Yao-sung Lin

Dept. Of Zoology

National Taiwan Univ.

Taipei, Taiwan, R. O. C.


Taiwan is an island with a broad range of environments. The area of the island is only about 36,000 square Kilometers, while the population is nearly 21 millions. This island is dominated by forested mountains which supports a diverse flora of over 4,000 vascular plant species and a spectrum of six forest types from alpine to subtropical forest. This range of environments also supports a rich fauna which include 62 species of mammals, more than 400 species of birds, 92 species of reptiles, 30 species of amphibians, 140 species of freshwater fish, and an estimated over 100,000 insect species including more than 400 species of butterfly.

The first real steps toward natural conservation in Taiwan was taken place after 1970. The culture Heritage Preservation law was legislated in 1983 and the endangered species are protected in accordance with this law. In the same year, the Council of Agriculture was also given responsibility for nature conservation and conservation research funded. At the Ministry of the Interior, the National Parks Department was founded in 1981 to plan and manage the countries national parks. With their efforts, there are six national parks were established in the following 15 year.

The issue of global biodiversity conservation has not been received proper attention in Taiwan, neither by government agencies nor by public, until 1994. Although there is a special Committee for Global Environment Change in Executive Yuan and a Biodiversity Conservation Group is under this Committee since 1994, the related governmental agencies still had difficulties in developing national strategies or action plans for conserving biological diversity due to the lack of supporting policies and public awareness. Fortunately after several conferences and workshops which held by academic societies and involved governmental support, the importance of biodiversity has getting more attention from policy makers and public since 1997. Some actions are taken to help in biodiversity conservation and research by governmental support in 1998.