Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

More than 2,000 rare conifer trees located in Taitung

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Forestry researchers said on Tuesday they have discovered more than 2,000 trees of an endangered species of conifer from the Taxaceae family known as Formosan Amentotaxus at a nature reserve in Taitung.

Yang Cheng-ren (楊勝任) of National Pingtung University of Science and Technology's forestry department, said he and fellow researchers discovered seven new breeding sites of the conifer at the Dawu Taiwan Amentotaxus Nature Reserve, home to 762 Formosan Amentotaxus trees identified by Forestry Bureau inspectors between 1997 and 2005.

The Council of Agriculture has listed Formosan Amentotaxus, which is endemic to Taiwan, as an endangered species and began implementing protective measures in June 1986, including setting up a nature reserve in Taitung County's Daren Township (達仁).

In the past decade, bureau inspectors found the species in several sites outside the reserve. It was those discoveries that prompted the bureau to launch a comprehensive survey of the trees' distribution and the state of reproduction, the council said.

Yang's team was commissioned by the government to conduct the survey.

He said his team found that the conifers grow very slowly because it takes more than a year to produce seeds after pollination.

Believing that there are more of the rare species growing near the reserve, Yang has suggested exploring the southern section of the Central Mountain Range as a further project.

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