Not just the freeway, but a green corridor
In memory of the late filmmaker Po-lin Chi
As a renowned and influential filmmaker, Po-lin Chi’s passion for the land was well demonstrated in his beloved film “Beyond Beauty – Taiwan from above” documenting the island from an aerial perspective , showcasing the breathtaking landscapes as well as the severe human impacts in recent decades, raising public awareness about conservation issues.
The topography of Taiwan is dominated by the Central Mountain Range, which has steep slopes and rapidly descending rivers flowing either eastward or westward into the ocean. While most of the population is located on the western lowlands, a comprehensive freeway system connecting the north and the south was gradually established, and the inevitable price of losing some parts of the natural habitats and biodiversity occurred along the way.
During Chi’s early career as a filmmaker for the development and construction of the freeways, his aerial footages of the freeway system was a pioneer project and was tremendously helpful for the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau to start restoring the long-term environmental damages since 2006. We have made some significant progress, including: formulating a strategic plan for sustainable development of the freeways, establishing a long-term ecological database, and introducing ecological engineering to reduce potential impacts in the future. Specifically, we are working on the following aspects:
i. Achieving sustainable management of the freeways: We have developed a strategy and plan for infrastructure maintenance of the freeway system, improving the transport efficiency and innovation, and putting efforts into natural habitats restoration and rehabilitation.
ii. Developing a management system according to the ecological susceptibility assessment: We documented the ecological characteristics and current land use within 5 km along the freeway through intensive surveys, and produced a ranking system so that the freeway sections could be managed based on the ecological importance and current status. We have also build an online ecological database for information storing, sharing and monitoring.
iii. Integrating biodiversity conservation and sustainable use: Habitat fragmentation, roadkill and spreading of invasive species are among the most crucial issues that have resulted in environmental degradation. We use wildlife crossings to reconnect habitats, including one overpass for the critically endangered leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). There are also continuous monitoring and mitigation efforts to reduce roadkills, such as adequate fencing and corridor setting for mammals, herons and purple crow butterflies. On the other hand, the ecological greening on the roadside has been going on with a focus on eliminating a notoriously invasive plant, the white popinac (Leucaena leucocephala).
iv. Promoting the biodiversity of the low-elevation landscapes in large: With active network with governmental sectors and private organizations, we are not only seeking to create different habitats, but have also started to identify suitable roadside areas of the freeways for rare native plants restoration and forest reconnection. Our management work has also extended to preserving and protecting ecological hotspots adjacent to the freeways, such as reclaiming the Fuyang Eco Park in collaboration with the Society of Wilderness.
The freeway system has brought flexible and convenient transport, and has profoundly shaped our life economically and socially. We are doing everything not to compromise the biodiversity and sustainability of the wildlife. We are confident that with the above-mentioned work successfully carried out, we will realize our common goal to construct “not just the freeway system, but a green corridor for all”.
Date of Posting :2017-09-11
Source of Information:Construction Div.