Rapid economic and industrial development in Taiwan over the past five decades has elevated the island’s standing and earned it a place in the group known as the Four Small Dragons of Asia. Such growth, however, has been at the expense of the environment. There are currently nearly 23 million people juggling for space on the small island of 35,873 km(2). Aggravating the matter further, the central mountain ranges and hills take up 73.6% of the land area with some 156 peaks surpassing 3,000 m. As a result, most people live in coastal plains which amount to only 9,490 km(2). Pressure to move people inland has led to road construction and deforestation, both of which have contributed to an already high denudation rate of topsoil. As a consequence of this, thirteen rivers in Taiwan are now ranked among the top 20 worldwide in terms of sediment yield. Aside from this, the frequency of both floods and droughts increased prior to 1990, perhaps because of deforestation and global warming. Fortunately, the new conservation-orientated forest management policy of 1991 has alleviated the problem, somewhat, and the occurrence of floods and droughts has since decreased. The problem of water shortage, however, has worsened because of the warming trend in atmospheric temperature. Damming may ameliorate the water shortage problem but may affect the shoreline stability, as well as the ecology and water quality in the estuaries. Furthermore, these detrimental effects may go far beyond the estuaries, and even fisheries on the continental shelves may be affected.
Conservation-based forest management - decrease harvested volume of timber
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Reduced water availability||Unclear results||Projected annual discharge of 100-yr drought|
|Freshwater flooding||Unclear results||Projected annual sediment discharge of a flood of 100-year return frequency|
Kaoping River watershed