The elevation difference in Taipingshan is so significant that the appearance of forest both in sub-tropical and temperate climates can be found in this region. The sub-tropical rain forest is situated between altitudes 200-500 m, Phyllostachys makinoi, Acacia confuse, India-charcoal Trema, Schefflera Tree, Large-leaved Nanmu, Liquidambar formosana, Ficus microcarpa L.f. and Paper mulberry are the bulk of this forest.
Warm-temperate forest is located between altitudes 500-1,500 m, for the most part it is a mixed forest of coniferous and broadleaf trees. The most populous trees are Bird-lime tree, Formosan Michelia, Neolitsea, Taiwan Red Maple, Cunninghamia lanceolata, Taiwan Cypress and Taiwan Incense-cedar.
Cold-temperate forest is situated between altitudes 1,500-2,400 m. The major tree species are Prunus matuurai, Rhododendron rubropilosum var. taiwanalpinum, Taiwan Hemlock, Cunninghamia lanceolata var. konishii, Taiwan Cypress, Taiwan Hinoki and Taiwan Red Pine. Sometimes, if fortunate enough, you will bump into a thousand-year Taiwan Cypress in some locations.
Besides, Digitalis purpurea is an endemic and unique flowering plant in Taipingshan, while mosses and ferns constitute the green carpet of this region.
The mammals that have been spotted in Taipingshan area include: Formosan black bear, Yellow-throated marten, Gem-faced civet, Crab-eating mongoose, Reeves's muntjac, Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkey, Petaurista philippensis grandis, Petuarista alborufus lena Thomas, Tamiops swinhoei formosanus, Dremomys pernyi owstoni, Mustela sibirica taivana, Rusa unicolor swinhoei and Sus scrofa taivanus. Some of them are listed as the protected species in Taiwan. Especially, Formosan black bear is the largest land animal and the only native bear in Taiwan. Now, Formosan black bear is listed as the endangered species and only its old traces could be found in Taipingshan.
The birds in Taipingshan Recreation Area are plentiful and, based on the records, there are 164 species and 53 families. The most noteworthy are Swinhoe's pheasant and Mikado pheasant, both considered as the unofficial national birds and star species in Taiwan. Swinhoe's pheasant was named after the British naturalist Robert Swinhoe, who first described the species in 1862. It often shows up in the twilight or at dusk, in fog or bad weather, which makes it even more mysterious and difficult to find. As to Mikado pheasant, a bird endemic to Taiwan, it is the largest indigenous bird in Taiwan and is constantly staying alert to its surroundings. Just like its counterpart, Mikado pheasant can be seen in the twilight, at dusk or after the rain, on the small tracks or the fringes of forest. It shows strong territorial behavior and often acts alone.
Amphibians and Reptiles
According to preliminary investigation, the amphibians recorded in Taipingshan are 13 species and 4 families. The most numerous species are: Japanese tree frog (especially at Jioujhihze area), Rhacophorus moltrechti ( it sounds like turkey and is visible all over the Recreation Area) and Rana adenopleura( in Cueifong Lake area).
As to reptiles, there are 34 species and 9 families recorded in Taipingshan , including 9 species and 5 families of Lizard, 25 species and 4 families of snake. The rarest in this category and endemic to Taipingshan are Japalura luei and Taiwan pit viper, which can be spotted only at medium or high elevations in this region.
- Fans Group for Taipingshan