Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Located in a subtropical climate zone, Taiwan, which is formed from the convergence of the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate, is a comfy home for various types of giant trees that have survived from thousands of years ago to the present.
Those gigantic trees, which are nearly 100 meters high, have witnessed changes in the earth’s ecology and are valuable natural assets around the world.
Their presence in Taiwan’s mountains also proves that North America and the Asian continent were once connected millions of years ago.
In Taiwan’s mountains areas which are covered by dense forests at an altitude of over 3,000 meters above sea level, there are three types of amazing enormous trees, namely Taiwan Shan, Taiwan red cypress, and Yushan Juniper.
Taiwan Shan is the tallest tree on the Formosa Island, reaching between 90 meters and 100 meters, or roughly the height of a 33-story building.
The tree is one of the tallest tree species in Asia.
It is so high that the native Rukai of Taiwan call it a “tree that touches the moon”, to describe this towering tree.
Taiwan Shan has existed on the earth for more than 100 million years, making it called a living fossil.
Taiwan Shan’s genus is called Taiwania, and is the only plant in the world that named after Taiwan.
Most of the Taiwan Shan in the world are grown in Taiwan, and few others are found in mountainous areas of southwest Asia. Therefore, this tree is an exclusive species of Taiwan.
Taiwania is mainly found in mountainous areas in central and southern Taiwan. In the Yilan mountains of Taiwan, there are three Taiwania trees that grow side by side which are known as the Trio Sisters.
Taiwan red cypress
The Taiwan red cypress is also a unique form of Formosa’s plant that thrives in mountains between 1,800 meters and 2,500 meters above sea level.
Taiwan red cypress can be up to 60 meters high (approximately a 20-story building), and the diameter of the trunk can exceed 6 meters.
The oldest red cypress found in Taiwan is more than four thousand years old, making it called “tree of gods”.
Taiwan red cypress is one of the highest quality building materials in the world, and its fragrant aroma can be made into cypress essential oil.
There are only six or seven species of cypress around the world, which are mainly found in North America, Japan, and Taiwan.
Taiwan red cypress is endemic as it is not found anywhere else in the world.
The highest peak in East Asia is the main peak of Mount Yushan in Taiwan, at 3,952 meters above sea level.
In the high altitude environment of the harsh, low temperature and thin air, stood a large tree known as Yushan Juniper.
Yushan Juniper originates from the ice age, about 2.4 million years ago. This species migrated from the Eastern Himalayas and eventually settled above the highest sea level in Taiwan, between 3,200 meters and 3,990 meters.
Yushan Juniper tree can grow to over 35 meters (roughly the height of a 12-story building).
Yushan Juniper in Taiwan is between 2,000 years and 3,000 years old, and the oldest is 4,500 years old.
To adapt to the cold environment and strong winds of the mountains of the Formosa Island, Yushan Juniper’s trunk grow wavily, forming a beautiful work of art.
The gigantic trees that have inhabited the mountains of Taiwan for thousands of years have witnessed the changing history of the earth and humans, preserving biodiversity, and protecting the nature of the Formosa Island and the lives of humankind living in it.
Source: Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO)
Reporting by Indonesia Window