Taijiang National Park is located in the southwest of Taiwan. Overall the park’s planned area stretches from the southern sea wall of Qingshan Fishing Harbor to the south bank of Yanshui River and is mostly public coastal land. Main island Taiwan’s most westerly point, Guosheng Lighthouse, is within the boundaries of the park which measures 20.7 kilometers north to south and has a planned area of 39,310 hectares, of which land will account for 4905 hectares The sea area will cover a band extending 20 meters from the shore and 54 kilometers long from Yanshui River to Dongji Island, an area of 34,405 hectares.
Tidal land, sandbanks and wetlands Special terrain and geological landscape
Tidal land is one of the most distinctive features of the park’s coastal landscape. The land along the Tainan coast has a gentle gradient and the rivers that flow into the sea on the west coast carry a large amount of sand. For topographical and geological reasons the water flow slows sharply when the rivers enter the sea with the result that the sand they carry is deposited around the river mouths. Over time the effect of wind, tide and waves causes the river mouth to gradually silt up and rise outwards, forming natural tidal land or sand banks. In the park, a wide tidal flat has been formed close to the shore while a number of offshore sand bars have also been formed in the breaking wave area, creating a special coastal landscape. Taijiang National Park has four main wetland areas: Zengwen River mouth wetlands, Sicao wetlands which are of international importance, and Qigu Salt fields wetlands and Yanshui River, wetlands which are of national importance.
Rich marine wildlife resources
A 1998 survey by Wetlands Taiwan found that Zengwen River mouth and Luermen River mouth areas have a total of at least 205 species of shellfish, 240 species of fish and 49 crab species…illustrating the ecological importance of these places. The productivity of wetlands is also much higher than ordinary farmland and the plentiful food supply attracts numerous wild creatures, fish and shrimp, and shellfish which live and breed there. Sicao wetlands has ten species of Fiddler crab: Uca arcuata (de Haan, 1835), Uca lactea (DP Haan, 1835), Uca borealis (Crane, 1975), Uca formosensis (Rathbun, 1921), Uca triangularis (A. Milne Edwards, 1873), Uca tetragonon (Herbst, 1790), Uca dussumieri (h. Milne Edwards, 1852), Uca crassipes (Adams and White, 1848), Uca perplexa (H. Milnft edwards, 1852), and Uca coarctata (H. Milne edwards, 1852). Yanshui River mouth is the only place in Taiwan where ten species of fiddler crab can be found.
Diverse land ecological resources
Most of the park area was originally part of the Taijiang Inland Sea. Over 200 years, land formed by silting and led to the area being turned salt fields and fish ponds and the establishment of villages. It is on the migration route for Asian after birds and every autumn and winter tens of thousands of birds pass through or stay on the salt fields, ponds or new land at the river mouth for the winter. Surveys carried out over the years by Wild Bird Society of Tainan show that almost 200 species of bird have been seen in the park area, with protected species, including the black faced spoonbill, numbering 21. The birds’ habitat is mainly the Zengwen River and Qigu Rivermouths, Qigu salt fields, Jiangjun River mouth, Beimen salt fields, Jishui River mouthand Bazhang River mouth.
The park area was settled early and the natural habitat has been disturbed quite heavily by human activities, consequently most of the mammals found here are species that are commonly seen on land. So far 11 species of mammal have been recorded, including small non-forest mammals like Japanese House Bat(Pipistrellus javanicus), house shrew (Suncus murinus)、and Taiwan bandicoot rat (Bandicota indica).
Five species of amphibians have been found in the park area: Spectacled toad (Bufo melanosticu), Chinese bullfrog(Rana tigerina rugulosa), Rice field frog (Rana limnocharis limnocharis), Ornate narrow-mouthed toad (Microhyla ornata) and Guenther's frog (Rana guntheri). Five species of reptile have also been found: Common House gecko (Hemidactylus Dumeril & Bibron, Five-striped Blue-tailed Skink(Eumeces elegans Boulenger), Stejneger's grass lizard (Takydromus stejnegeri Van Denburgh), Striped-tailed Rat Snake(Elaphe taeniura friesi) and Chinese common cobra (Naja atra(Cantor) ). The Chinese bullfrog, Guenther's frog, Stejneger's grass lizard, Striped-tailed Rat Snake and cobra are all rare and protected wild animals. Because most of the park area is developed, has little forest cover and human activity is frequent, terrestrial invertebrates are common. 26 species of firefly and butterfly have been recorded. The firefly (Pyrocoelia analis Fabricius) used be numerous in the
park area but now is rarely seen. The population can be restored and firefly watching activities held in the park.
Many species of plan grow within the park. According to the Industrial Development Bureau’s “Tainan Technology Industrial Park Environmental Monitoring” report (2005) and surveys by Wild Bird Society of Tainan and Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society, 205 species of plant, in 151 genera and 55 families can be found in the Dasicao area alone, with relatively rare flora including four types of mangrove: Black mangrove mangrove(Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh.), Kandelia (Kandelia candel(L.) Druce), Lumnitzera racemosa Willd, Rhizophora stylosa and plants that live in sand and saline soil, including Seahore vine morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae (L.) Sweet subsp. brasiliensis (L.) Oostst.), Eulophia graminea Lindl, Myoporum bontioides, Beach Naupaka Scaevola hainanensis Hance, Blinding Tree (Excoecaria kawakamiiHayata).
Historic and cultural resources
Many Han migrants from China crossed the “black ditch” (the Taiwan Straits) and then settled in the Taijiang area. It thus had central role in the settlement of Taiwan and the formation of Taiwan’s ocean culture. Taiwan’s history and its ocean culture are inseparable and, in particular, the culture formed from the experiences of the early settlers is closely connected to the ocean culture of the Taiwan Straits. The shipping route between Xiamen and Luermen played a key role in the development of early society in Taiwan. It was the main channel for exchange between China and Taiwan and the main route taken by Han people migrating from China to Taiwan. On the Xiamen-Luermen route Penghu was a halfway point and also a shelter when needed. Wave after wave of Han people migrated to China from the 17th century. Sailing across the black ditch is a common historical memory of the people of Taiwan and a symbol of the settlement of Taiwan.
Most of the migrants were from Fujian and Guangdong provinces opposite Taiwan and were mostly from Zhangzhou, Quanzhou or Hakka people. Most of the people from coastal Quanzhou in southern Fujian made a living by fishing, drying salt, aquaculture and selling foreign goods so, when they migrated to Taiwan, they chose to live on the coast continuing to depend on the sea.
6000-7000 years ago the area from Yushan along the Zengwen River valley to the Tainan area was the area of activity of the Zhou tribe. They interbred with the Siraya Pingpu tribe of Taiwowan village and formed the Taivoan group, also called Sishe Pingpu. Around 300-400 years ago the Siraya tribe was distributed around the Tainan plain and the Taivoan group (a Siraya sub-tribe) lived on the Tainan plain on the middle reaches of Zengwen River. Records from the Dutch era show that the Pingpu population of the southern plain was much larger than anywhere else, and the villages in Xiaolong, Madou, Xingang and Wanli and other areas were large.
On April 21, 1661 Koxinga led 25,00 men on several hundred ships from Keluo Bay, Kinmen, passing by Penghu, landing at Luermen and Heliao Harbor and surprising the Dutch defenders. Using superior force they quickly took the weakly defended Chikan Tower (in today’s Tainan City) and then began a siege of the heavily defended walled city (today’s Anping district of Tainan City). After nine months of war, helped by Han migrants who had been helped by his father to cross the Taiwan Straits in earlier years, Koxinga defeated the Dutch in 1662. The Dutch governor was forced to surrender and the Dutch withdrew from Taiwan. He then worshipped the mountains and rivers, issued the order to settle the land and established the Kingdom of Dongning. “Chengtian Prefecture, covering south of Taiwan and part of the east, was established and Tainan became “Eastern capital”. Many communities in Tainan City and county were formed 400 years ago.