Taiwan - Rye Research Essay

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Taiwan is a subtropical island located about 100 miles east of mainland China. Covering about 13,892 square miles, it is roughly the size of the state of Maryland and the capital city is Taipei, which is found at the northern tip of the country on the Tamsui River. The so-called “backbone” of the island is formed by a north-south mountain range, the highest peak of which being Yushan at 13,110 feet. These mountains were the original homeland of the aborigines. With people taking advantage of the resources the mountains provide, environmental problems are being created. For example: water pollution, landslides, forest fires, soil erosion, reservoir sedimentation, and flooding in lower and middle altitudes. With these issues also come the concerns about the mountain ecosystem, and the increasing pressure it’s being put under. Areas of the land are threatened with destruction, and species of wildlife are diminishing toward extinction. A fertile plain that holds the majority of Taiwan’s population and agricultural activity can be found to the west of the mountain range, where all kinds of pollution and the buildup of garbage cause more environmental problems. This is the region that faces the biggest threat from industrialization and urbanization, where metropolitan cities like Kaohsiung and Taipei struggle with dangerous air, noise, and water pollution levels. The disposal of wastes both solid and toxic remains a problem. The amount of garbage each member of the 23,305,021+ population produces equals about two and a half pounds a day, a number that stretches the capacity of the environment to absorb the waste safely to the limit. The islets outlying Taiwan have long been considered to potentially be the most suitable dumpsite for nuclear waste, and places like Lan Yu, aka Orchid Island, faces very real and immediate environmental threats. With all of the pollution, Taiwan is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world. However, they refuse to pass the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GHGRA). In an attempt to protect the nature and wildlife of the country, Taiwan passed the National Park Law of the Republic of China. A total of eight wildlife parks have been established, the oldest being the Kenting National Park on the southern tip of the island; Kenting is famous for its visiting migratory birds and its tropical coral reef. The Kinmen National Park, located on an island just off the coast of mainland China, is famous for its historical battlefields and wetland ecosystem. The home of East Asia’s second-tallest mountain, Hsuehshan, aka Snow Mountain, can be found in Shei-Pa National Park in the central northern area of the country. Taroko National Park attracts visitors with its incredible marble gorge cut by the Li-Wu River, creating what has been called the most astounding landscape in the world. The smallest and most northern of these national parks is Yangmingshan, which has a volcanic landform, bringing people to visit its famous hot springs. Adversely, the largest national park is Yushan in the central part of the island, home to Jade Mountain, which is the highest peak in all of East Asia. The first oceanic national park is Dongsha Marine which is not located on the island, and due to its strict protection is not open to public tourism. The newest of these protected areas of Taiwan is Taijiang National Park, located in the southwest on the coast of Tainan. The coastal landscape and rich marine life are its most distinctive features. These parks create a total of 2,761 square miles of protected land, constituting more than 8.6% of the Republic’s entire land area. With warm, humid summers and cold, rainy winters, Taiwan doesn’t get much snowfall except at higher elevations. The average summer highs are between 89 to 100 degrees F, and winter lows range from 54 to 64 degrees F. In southern Taiwan most rainfall occurs during summer. The island is known to get typhoons between June and October and is subject to small...
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