Bureau to probe forestry claims

REPORTS::The Taiwan Academy of Ecology said Dragon Steel Corp adopted an area for forestation, but is clearing out indigenous plant species and applying herbicide instead

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, May 23, 2013 - Page 3

The Taiwan Academy of Ecology yesterday said it found inappropriate forestation work on Dadu Mountain (大肚山) in Greater Taichung, where indigenous plant species had been cut down and new trees planted, and the Forestry Bureau has agreed to investigate.

“Green Forestation” is one of the government’s “i-Taiwan 12 Projects,” the environmental group said, adding that the project’s goals include maintaining the completeness of the environment at nature reserves, providing space for the survival of plants and animals, preventing inappropriate development behavior and protecting biodiversity.

Taiwan Academy of Ecology secretary-general Tsai Chih-hao (蔡志豪) said they found China Steel Corp’s subsidiary, Dragon Steel Corp, using inappropriate methods such as clearing out indigenous plant species, applying herbicide and growing economic tree species in the area that it adopted for forestation on the mountain.

He said the area that the company adopted was actually an environmentally sensitive area with rich ecology and many indigenous plant species, such as Acronychia pedunculata (a small evergree, aromatic tree) and Laurocerasus spinulosa, and the Endemic Species Research Institute Conservation Education Center has also discovered leopard cats — an endangered species — in the area in 2004.

A 2005 research survey conducted by Tsai and Yang Kuoh-cheng (楊國禎), an associate professor in Providence University’s Department of Ecology, found the forests in the area had been mostly destroyed by fires, but there were still 158 herbaceous plant species and 51 species of trees growing in the area.

The manmade forests created by forestation have a lower tree density, he said, suggesting that the government should reallocate the money for subsidizing green forestation to preventing forest fires.

Dragon Steel’s inappropriate forestation methods are violating the original purpose of the Green Forestation project, and the company is treating the forest as a timber production farm, Yang said.

The Forestry Bureau has said it would look into the case with the Greater Taichung Government.