Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Flora and Fauna of Taiwan

I'm starting this post to gather in one location good books, DVDs and online materials on Taiwan's astonishingly diverse flora and fauna. Taiwan is said to hold 2.5% of the world's species and to have one of the highest concentrations of endemic species. Get out and learn some of them.

Flora of Taiwan: the six volume collection of books on Taiwanese flora (in English) is available for a free download from National Taiwan University. The first volume's introduction is one of the best overviews of Taiwan's natural environment (including geology and geography) I have seen.

Birds of East Asia, by Mark Brazil. Highly recommended as it contains all the species one can find in Taiwan (including migratory) in one book, in English. I'm waiting for Eslite to get their next shipment in as they've already sold out (as has

This website by the Taiwan International Birding Association is fantastic. Birds are categorized as endemic species/sub-endemic and more. Lovely clear pics and summaries.

Various national park visitor centres are great sources for books and DVDs on local flora and fauna. Much of it is in Chinese but at least the latin names are there. Just do a Google search for the common English name.

I'll add more sources as I find them.


Sabrinataipei said...

You can also have a look at Liao Dong Kun's 廖東坤 books, he wrote some books and made some documentaries about taiwanese flora and fauna.

Thanks for your very interesting blog!!

Robert Scott Kelly said...

Thanks for the tip.

Spencer said...

Great link Robert, I have been searching for such info for a while.

Anonymous said...

I have been searching for a good English entomology book for Taiwan but haven't had any luck. Would love to know if anyone comes across one.

Sabrinataipei said...

This book is about all main taiwanese plants in Taiwan but infortunately it is in chinese.

If anyone has a very good level in chinese and might be interested, I give you the title 野地繽紛WILD FLOWERS, written by 廖東坤 Liao Dong Kun,

I don't know any other wild writer in Taiwan. Sorry! my reference surely is useless...

Luca said...

Great links, thank you very much! I have been looking for a good introduction to geography and geology for a long time

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Rich J Matheson said...

Great links, thanks. Looking forward to more.

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Those are some really nice photos you have there. I really like your bird pictures and the pictures of the old temple and all the vegetation. Very nice!

Joshua Wallis said...

Really enjoyed reading your blog. Lots of great hiking trails. I always seem to forget I'm surrounded by beautiful mountains in Taiwan. Joshua, Muzha/Wenshan

Nick said...

Hi i am visiting taiwan tomorrow for a month, i have marvelled at your hiking posts and am looking forward to doing a bit myself. I would especially like to seek out a wild hot spring or failing that, a swimming hole or two. I am armed with 'collins birds of south east asia' (which unfortunately only lists taiwan's endemic birds -without proper info for them :-( ) and am very excited about experiencing the local wildlife.
If you the blogger, or anyone else reading this would be able to give me some direction, it would be most appreciated...(unfortunately i can only speak english - but i've got a visual chinese <-> english dictionary!)
If anyone could help me out, my email is

Arden said...

Great blog! It's great that you provide such awesome info on hiking in Taiwan. I'm in a group that also tries to help out foreigners and expats here in Taiwan, called the East West Culture Project (EWCP). We offer many different kinds of classes and retreats, and most relevant to your blog, we even have a culture hiking group.
If this is something you or your readers may be interested in learning about, I would be happy to send you more info, or files about what we offer. Thanks

e-nerblog said...

Hello Robert,

We are two experienced hikers from Germany. We planed to do the Batongguan Japanese Era Crossing Trail. But we understand that the trail is closed due to damages by typhoon.

We still would like to do a 5 to 7 day hiking trip during our stay in Taiwan from 2012/08/26 to 2012/09/14. Can you recommend some trails that are open and how we apply for the permit?

We do have experiences in hinking self-organized and self-supplied for up to 14 days with a tent in remote wilderness in Asia ( Mongolia, Kamtschatka, Kyrgystan, Japan Alps) as well as on high altitude (South America, Nepal, European Alps). But we would not mind to stay in mountain huts along the way :-).

Thank you in advance.



Robert Scott Kelly said...

Hi Tobias,

Yes, sadly the Batonguan is still closed. Based on your experience I would recommend the Holy Ridge, which I have blogged about. Five days of pure mountain delight with some excellent challenges. You could also try Nahudashan. I did this last fall over a five day period (though most do in four). However, there is also a really excellent loop possible on this route that is about 7 days. For permits you can apply yourself online at the national park websites (Syueshan National Park for both the above hikes) or contact my friend Richard Foster at He's set up many hikers to do the Holy Ridge and at least a few on the extended nanhudashan hike. You can also email me for more info at rscottpk AT gmail DOTCOM

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