In Taiwan, there are lots to see just around us while we don’t usually give them a glance. Believe it or not, let me give you some examples:
Tree fern：For example, Cyathea lepifera (J. Sm.) Copell, a plant can be traced back to the Jurassic Period beginning 200 million years ago.
Miscanthus floridulus：A vital plant of great traction which can grow on either moist soil or dry soil, so it’s hard to dig it out. One German expert regarded it as the treasure of Taiwan.
Acacia confusa Merr：One of the tree species that is fast-growing, solid, burnable, and un-yielding in the rain. It is perfect for soil and water conservation, and it grows almost everywhere. It used to be the beams in mining shafts because of its toughness. In Taiwan, Acacia confusa Merr, can even grow from concrete walls. It was largely imported to Yangtze River Basin and Hong Kong for soil and water conservation.
Note: Taiwan is a kingdom of tree fern, insects, and butterflies.
2. Age：Taiwan was formed around 20 million years ago, while Kinmen was around 200 million years and the Earth was around 4 billion years ago. (Taiwan was compressed and shifted dramatically from the sea by the force of the Philippine Sea tectonic plate crashing into the Eurasian plate 20 million years ago.)
3. The last Ice Age started about 18,000 to 10,000 years ago and lasted for thousand years. The low sea level caused the land below the Taiwan straits to emerge, forming a land bridge between Taiwan and the mainland. The Ice age caused coniferous forests to move from 50° to 21° N latitude. When the ice age ended, the sea level increased to form the Taiwan Straits, cutting off the route between the two landmasses and making these coniferous forests stay. Due to the global warming, the coniferous forests moved to high mountains, contributing a great diversity of vegetation in Taiwan. Tropical plants and cold plants distributed vertically according to the elevation. After a long-term evolution, some plants became endemic species in Taiwan.
4. The Alps in Europe stretches from east to west, stopping the species to migrate from north to south, so it presents simple species. The species in Central Mountain are similar to those in East Himalayas. Mountains stretching from south to north allow species to display variously.
5. The areas where the Ice Age affected the least is the triangular zone surrounded by the East Himalayas, Taiwan, and Japan. Taiwan is exactly located between 20° and 30° N latitude, in the Ice Age serving a Refuge that got those high-altitude plants such as ginkgo biloba, Chamaecyparis Formosensis Matsum, Taiwania cryptomerioides (endemic in Taiwan) and so forth to grow in Taiwan. Other places locate in the same altitude (20°-30°) such as Desert Sahara in Africa, Saudi in Mid East, and North Mexico in America are deserts. Taiwan owes it to the marine climate and high mountains covered with a sea of clouds.
6. Stones are invisible at the point of 4,000 kilometers away from the estuary of the Amazon River in South America, and are those in the Mississippi River. Because two rivers mentioned above are long and flat, heavier stones are left upriver. In Taiwan, cliffy mountains make rivers short and steep with rapid flows, so there are stones everywhere in the estuary. (It’s quite interesting, isn’t it?)
7. Taiwan is a small place with enormous potential, and a place where history and modernism coexist. Although it only has 20 million years of history, creatures that date back to 65 million years ago still exist there. There are no coniferous forests on any Pacific Islands in the world, from South East Asia to Hawaii, except for Taiwan. Pines, firs, and cypresses grow in 50° N latitude, forming the so-called the Black Forests. Those tree species are unique in the Northern Hemisphere. The southernmost area they survive in is Taiwan, and you can’t see any of them in the Southern Hemisphere. Tropical plants exist between the equator and Taiwan. For example, the Red Forests are mostly located on South East, six types of them can be found in Kaohsiung, but only one in Taipei (the northernmost latitude in the whole world). The Black Forest in Taiwan is the most ancient one on earth. Cunninghamia lanceolata and Taiwania cryptomerioides around 30 million years old, exist just next to the East-West Cross Island Highway.
8. Do you love me? Formosa! Formosa, the island of beauty, I love you.