Taijiang National Park
|Taijiang National Park
Taijiang National Park from Anping
|Area||393.1 km2 (151.8 sq mi)|
The majority of the park is within the city of Tainan. In total, the park’s planned area stretches from the southern sea wall of Qingshan Fishing Harbor to the south bank of Yanshui River and is mostly public coastal land. Main island Taiwan’s most western point, Guosheng Lighthouse, is within the boundaries of the park which measures 20.7 km (12.9 mi) north to south and has an area of 393.1 km2 (151.8 sq mi), of which land accounts for 49.05 km2 (18.94 sq mi). The marine area covers a band extending 20 metres (66 ft) from the shore and 54 km (34 mi) long from Yanshui River to Dongji Island, an area of 344.05 km2 (132.84 sq mi).
Tidal land, Sandbanks and Wetlands
Tidal land is one of the most valuable treasure of the park’s coastal landscape. The land along the Southern coast has a gentle gradient, and every year the rivers that run westward carry a large quantity of sand. For topographical and geological reasons the water flow slows dramatically when the rivers arrive to the sea. Gradually, the sand in the runoff is deposited around the river mouths. Over time, the works of wind, tide and waves causes the river mouth to gradually silt up and expand outwards, resulting in natural tidal land, or sand banks. In the park, a wide tidal flat has been formed close to the shore while a number of offshore sand bars have also been formed in the breaking wave area, creating a special coastal landscape.
Taijiang National Park has four main wetland areas: Zengwen River mouth wetlands, Sicao wetlands, Qigu Salt fields wetlands and Yanshui River wetlands, all of them have international ecological importance.
Abundant Marine Wildlife Resources
Wetlands Taiwan's survey in 1998 found that Zengwen River mouth and Luermen River mouth areas have a total of at least 205 species of shellfish, 240 species of fish and 49 crab species. This highlights the ecological importance of these areas. As most ecologist would agree, the bioproductivity of wetlands is much higher than ordinary farmland. For instance, the plentiful food supply attracts numerous wild creatures, including migratory birds, fish and shrimp, and shellfish which live and breed in the safety there. Sicao wetlands alone has ten species of Fiddler crab. Yenshui River mouth is the only place in Taiwan where these species of fiddler crab thrive.
A large portion of the park area was originally part of the Taijiang Inland Sea. Over 200 years, land formed by silting and led to the area being turned to salt fields and fish ponds. Later on, the establishment of villages was started by Han people. This area is on the migration route for Asian birds and every autumn and winter tens of thousands of birds pass through or stay on the salt fields, ponds or new land at the river mouth for the winter. Surveys carried out over the years by Wild Bird Society of Tainan show that almost 200 species of birds have been seen in the park area, with protected species, including the Black-faced Spoonbill, numbering 21. This species's habitat is mainly the Zengwen River and Qigu Rivermouths, Qigu salt fields, Jiangjun River mouth, Beimen salt fields, Jishui River mouth and Bazhang River mouth.
The park area was settled early, and sadly, the negative impact of human activities have disturbed natural habitat very heavily, consequently most of the mammals found here are species that are commonly seen on land. So far 11 species of mammal have been recorded, including small non-forest mammals like Japanese House Bat (Pipistrellus javanicus), house shrew (Suncus murinus), and Greater Bandicoot Rat (Bandicota indica).
Five species of amphibians have been found in the park area: Spectacled toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), Chinese Edible Frog (Hoplobatrachus rugulosus), Rice field frog (Fejervarya limnocharis), Ornate Narrow-mouthed Frog (Microhyla ornata) and Günther's Frog (Rana guntheri).
There are five species of reptile documented: Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus Dumeril), Five-striped Blue-tailed Skink (Plestiodon elegans), Stejneger's grass lizard (Takydromus stejnegeri), Taiwan Beauty Rat Snake (Orthriophis taeniurus friesi) and Naja atra (cobra).
The Chinese edible frog, Günther's frog, Stejneger's grass lizard, Striped-tailed Rat Snake and cobra are all rare and protected wild animals.
Because most of the park area is developed, it has little forest cover and human activity is frequent, terrestrial invertebrates are common. 26 species of firefly and butterfly have been recorded. The firefly (Pyrocoelia analis) used be numerous in the park area but now is rarely seen. However, it is possible to restore the population, although it will certainly take some time.
Many species of plant grow within the park. According to the Industrial Development Bureau’s “Tainan Technology Industrial Park Environmental Monitoring” report in 2005, plus the surveys by Wild Bird Society of Tainan and Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society, 205 species of plant, in 151 genera and 55 families can be found in the Dasicao area alone, with relatively rare flora including four types of mangrove, including Black mangrove, Kandelia obovata, Lumnitzera, Rhizophora. In addition, there are plants that live in sand and saline soil, including Seashore vine morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae L.) Sweet subsp. brasiliensis (L.) Oostst.), Eulophia graminea Lindl, Myoporum bontioides, Beach Naupaka Scaevola hainanensis Hance, Blinding Tree (Excoecaria kawakamii Hayata).
Some History and Cultural Background
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, many Han migrants from Mainland China sailed across the “black ditch,” or the Taiwan Strait to settle in the Taijiang area. Southern Taiwan thus had central role in the settlement of Taiwan and the formation of Taiwan’s ocean culture. Taiwan’s history and its ocean culture are inseparable and, in particular, the culture formed from the experiences of the early settlers is closely connected to the ocean culture of the Taiwan Strait. The shipping route between Xiamen and Luermen played a critical role in the development of early society in Taiwan. It was the main channel for trade between China and Taiwan and the main route taken by immigrants from China to Taiwan. On the Xiamen-Luermen route. Penghu was a halfway stop and also a shelter when needed. Wave after wave of Han people migrated to China from the 17th century. Sailing across the black ditch is as memorable as the settlement in the new area for the early immigrants to Taiwan.
Most of the migrants came from Southern parts of China, especially Fujian and Guangdong provinces. Among these early migrants, most were from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou, people who maade a living by fishing, drying salt, aquaculture and exchanging foreign goods. Therefore, when they moved to Taiwan, they naturally stayed on the coastal regions, continued to live by the sea.
6000–7000 years ago the area from Yushan along the Zengwen River valley to the Tainan area was the area of activity of the Zhou tribe. They interbred with the Siraya Taiwanese Plains Aborigines, a tribe of Taiwowan village, and formed the Taivoan group, also called Sishe Pingpu. Around 300–400 years ago the Siraya tribe was distributed around the Tainan plain and the Taivoan group (a Siraya sub-tribe) lived on the Tainan plain on the middle reaches of Zengwen River. Records from the Dutch era show that the Pingpu population of the southern plain was much larger than anywhere else, and the villages in Soulang, Mattau, Sinkang and Baccaluang and other areas were large.
On March 23, 1661 Koxinga led 25,000 men on several hundred ships from Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣), Kinmen, passing by Penghu, landing at Luermen (鹿耳門) and Heliao Harbor and surprising the Dutch defenders. Using superior force they quickly took the weakly defended Fort Provintia and then began the Siege of Fort Zeelandia (in today’s Anping District). After nine months of war, assisted by Han migrants, Koxinga defeated the Dutch in 1662. The Dutch governor was forced to surrender and thus the Dutch withdrew from Taiwan, ending its colonial rule in Taiwan. Koxinga then worshiped the mountains and rivers, issued the order to settle the land and established the Kingdom of Tungning, continuing the resistance to the Qing Dynasty, and preparing for a chance to take back the mainland. Chengtian Prefecture (承天府), covering south of Taiwan and part of the east, was established and the “Eastern capital” was at modern-day Tainan. Many communities in Tainan were formed 400 years ago.
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