Friday, June 13, 2008

Taiwan: A Birder's Paradise

Singaporean birder, Low Bing Wen Albert, has posted a Taiwan trip report on Surfbirds titled Taiwan: A Birder's Paradise. Albert spent a week in the Huben/Hushan IBA area during his Taiwan trip.

See Birding in Taiwan's Yunlin County for more Taiwan Trip Reports.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tough times call for tough measures

Yesterday the Presidential Office announced a so-called energy-saving program. Today's Taipei Times editorial titled Tough times call for tough measures offers some comment on the government's energy stand.

President announces energy-saving program

Also see: Nuclear power listed as energy option

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Planting trees in China and other sorry tales

And the trees are gone! Two shots of the Hushan Dam site after the forest had been cleared-May 2008.

The government could allow industries to plant trees in China and other countries to help reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, an official said yesterday. Well, so claims today's Taipei Times. The article says, "Companies say they cannot find enough land locally to plant trees to offset carbon dioxide emissions, so they hope to plant trees overseas." The reality of the situation is that we are producing more CO2 than any tree-planting campaign can hope to deal with (See: Planting trees to off-set emissions isn't going to do it). These gimmick-type ideas are not going to help. This type of thinking just highlights that industry and the powers that be in Taiwan just refuse to get it. The reality is we need trees. Trees are not going to save us from our CO2 mess. Only a change in how we live is going to do that.

Right now we are cutting down forests in Hushan to build a dam for heavy industry. Industry that will increase our CO2 emissions. In Mailiao they are "reclaiming land" that is valuable humpback dolphin habitat to plant trees in the ocean to offset emissions. Something is wrong with this kind of thinking. This kind of "solution" is seriously flawed. It shows that we in Taiwan are not seriously tackling our emissions problem. We need our forests because they are a cornerstone of what allows are planet to function. Forests should not be see only as sponges for our emissions. In Taiwan vast areas of land under the Forestry Bureau are covered in exotic bamboos and other exotic plants and no attempt is being made to restore areas like this to native original-type vegetation.

Taiwan needs to seriously tackle its emissions problem. It needs to seriously reforest and restore areas in a genuine scientifically sound forest recovery and restoration program. It would seem that regardless of the EPA being Blue or Green it is still clinging to the ideal of everything but protecting the environment.

Reclaiming valuable humpback dolphin habitat to plant trees in the ocean.

A chainsaw-wielding worker clearing vegetation in Hushan