Keywords: Potential World Heritage Site, Taroko National Park, Taiwan
Taiwan, as an island in East Asia, is unique in geography and vegetational diversity to the region and worldwide. Geographically, Taiwan spans the Tropic of Cancer. The climate differs from tropics in the south to subtropics in the north. Vegetationally, it's located at the interface of the eastern Asiatic and Malesian floristic regions. With plenty of endemic species making its owned floristic named as “Taiwan Province”. The vegetation in province ranges from tropical rainforest in the lowlands, through temperate and boreal forest in between, to alpine on the highest mountain tip Yushan at 3,952 m. Although Taiwan and the eastern China are both the distributional center of evergreen broad-leaved forest, which are very similar in vegetation types. However, a large number of endemic species create Taiwan's uniqueness.
Compare to the high intensive landuse in northern and western part of Taiwan, Taroko National Park, which is located in the eastern, is covered by dense forest and preserves diverse habitats to wildlife. There are nearly 2,300 taxa of vascular plants on records in Taiwan, and 595 of these species are endemic. 34 of these endemic species are indigenous in Taroko National Park only. It is the most amount of endemic and rare species among the other National Parks. Moreover, the biome from subtropical rainforest to subarctic alpine plants of Taroko National Park shows the diversity, continuity and integrity of vegetation. It is the most representative reserves of Taiwan. According to the World Heritage's natural criteria (ⅸ) and (ⅹ), Taroko National Park has qualification to nominate for properties in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.