A botanical garden celebrating biodiversity and Tao cultural heritage is to be built on Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), officials said on Monday, as the Lanyu Junior High School and Taiwan Forestry Research Institute formalized the collaboration.
The school is to see its campus rebuilt as the Tao People Botanical Garden as part of the national botanical garden program, officials said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
The 48km2 island is home to 140 species of rare plants, or 14 percent of the 989 rare plant species in the nation, making it among the most diverse regions in Taiwan, institute director-general Chang Bin (張彬) said.
Photo copied by Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times
Lanyu is threatened by development, a problem that conservation and education authorities should confront together, Chang said, adding that the garden would help protect Tao culture by showing the Tao names and stories of indigenous plants.
School principal Yang Jui-liang (楊瑞良) said that the garden would help preserve plant species and allow students to experience the Tao way of life, such as foraging for seasonal fruits, making traditional foods and utilizing plants for crafts.
The garden would also serve as an educational zone showcasing eco-friendly practices such as carbon footprint reduction, and energy and water conservation, he said, adding that it would raise public awareness of the effects of global climate change on the biodiversity of the island.
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