TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Guandu Nature Park in Taipei City’s Beitou District will change its status from a protected nature reserve to a wetland area in order to receive stronger protection from flooding, reports said Tuesday (Dec. 21).
The Taipei City Government asked for the change to manage the site as an “important national wetland area” in a move that received approval from the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau in October, CNA reported.
The original status meant that no human interference with the natural landscape was possible, but over the years, the surface covered by mangroves has expanded at the expense of wetlands, chasing away the species of water birds supposed to receive protection from the park, according to the Forestry Bureau.
The number of water birds has declined by more than 30%, making way for other types of birdlife outside the original aims of the establishment of the park. The gradual changes in the landscape have also increased the threat of flooding along the nearby Keelung River, the Taipei City Government warned, as driftwood could cause water levels to rise.
As a result, the city has requested to change the Guandu area’s strict original status in favor of a program where human intervention is allowed, the Forestry Bureau said. Following the promulgation of the measure Monday (Dec. 20), the city would still be required to manage the area in a transparent way with the protection of water birds and their habitat as its primary mission.