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Adjustments to Guandu Nature Reserve: A New Chapter in Wetland Preservation

The wetlands of GuanduOctober 5, 2021 can be considered a milestone for the Guandu Nature Reserve. During the “Natural Landscape and Natural Monument Assessment” meeting organized by the Executive Yuan’s Council of Agriculture, the attendees discussed and passed the resolution readjusting the status of Guandu Nature Reserve. This decision ended the ban on human interferences over the past 35 years.
The Guandu Nature Reserve was established under the order of the Executive Yuan’s Council of Agriculture via the Ministry of Economic Affairs on June 27, 1986. The parameters of the reserve encompassed 55 hectares of wetland located beyond the Guandu levees with the aim of strengthening the conservation of waterfowls. The Department of Constructions (today’s Department of Economic Development) was charged with the management of the reserve. The duty was handed over to the Animal Protection Office (APO) after its establishment in 2010.
After monitoring environmental changes at the reserve over the years, APO concluded that a rapid expansion of mangroves led to diminishing wetlands and a decline of waterfowl species in the area by 30-percent (from 130 species down to 48 species), with tree-dwelling avian winning out.
APO Director Sung Nien-chieh noted that the primary purpose of the reserve is to protect waterfowls. However, Article 86 of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act dictates that alternation to the natural status of reserves is strictly prohibited, leaving surveillance as the only viable option. After numerous discussions, the committee members agreed that a certain level of human interference will help to bring about positive changes to the reserve’s ecosystem. In the future, the city government will continue to work with central government agencies to limit the growth of mangroves in the interest of restoring the waterfowls’ natural habitat, which also helps to lower the risk of flooding along the river.
Regarding public concerns that changes to the nature reserve status might lead to unwanted developments, APO pointed out that even with the revoking of nature reserve status, the Guandu wetlands falls under the category of “important national wetland area” and will be managed accordingly – limiting permissible activities to conservation and research-related efforts.