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'Green Tunnel’ in eastern Taiwan nearly cut down

Farmer complaints lead to sacrifice of eco-tourist attraction

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Taitung's 'Green Tunnel' dramatically pruned. (CNA photo)

Taitung's 'Green Tunnel' dramatically pruned. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taitung County’s Luye Township one-kilometer "Green Tunnel" of Madagascar almond trees has been a popular tourist attraction, though complaints by farmers have led the trees to be pruned.

Tourists were attracted to the row of trees, once known for the chirping of birds and insects, and a wide swath of shade in otherwise sunny farmland. However, the area has been a source of conflict among farmers, who say the trees are depriving their crops of sunshine, and they are tired of clearing away branches and leaves, per CNA.

The “Green Tunnel” is located in Longtian Village. The Taitung county government cooperated with the East Longitudinal Valley National Scenic Area Administration to create a tree-lined street, allowing tourists to enjoy activities like cycling.

Tourists visiting the area were recently dumbfounded by the pruning of trees. A tourist named Li (李) from Singapore was surprised that municipal officials approved such extreme pruning. Another family of four from Taichung surnamed Zhang (詹) was lured to the area by promotional videos, only to be disappointed.

On the other hand, farmers are happy that the trees have been dramatically cut back. One farmer named Liao (廖) said the trees needed to be trimmed, as the shade was affecting the growth of his crops, and a passing typhoon last year left broken branches strewn across fields.

Luye Township Chief Li Wei-shun (李維順) told the media that winter is the best time to prune Madagascar almond trees due to less sunlight and low temperatures. He said the roots of this tree frequently damage roads and impact drainage ditches.

Limited municipal budgets led the township to take such action. In the future, Li said he would prioritize native Taiwan plants over foreign species.