The average annual rainfall being 2600mm and average monthly temperatures range from 15 C in winter to 20 C in summer. Taiwan also boasts of four major botanical communities: tropical, subtropical, temperate and alpine with about 4300 species of vascular plants, 18000 fauna species and of course wide range of wild animals (E-shu Tsao 2005: 215, Chapter 25)
"Human life is fleeting, but cypress is forever." Two of the six famous false cypress that survive in the world can be found in Taiwan, namely Taiwan red cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis) and the Taiwan yellow cypress (Chamaecyparis obtuse) located at altitudes between 1300 meters to 2600 meters, these areas have greatest precipitation and also serve as a source of water for over 100 rivers (Chang Chin-ju. Sinorama Magazine 2005).
False cypress wood is light and easy to work; it is flexible, rot proof and termite resistant. It rarely warps, and hardly shrinks; it planes to a smooth, fine surface. It's so versatile: boats, bridges, carriages, cabinets or coffins-there's not one it's not suitable for. In short, of all Taiwan's commercial timbers, there's not another to match it. (Chang Chin-ju. Sinorama Magazine 2005)
According to Wikipedia the encyclopaedia Agritourism is described as a "style of vacation in which hospitality is offered on farms." Agritourism further helps in development of entertainment farms thus offering regular farm products along with activities such as mazes, open-pen animals, train rides, picnic facilities and pick your own produce (2005).
In Taiwan agritourism was started in 1980's to help farmers from recovering their falling incomes, rising costs and to withstand foreign competition. As a part of agritourism, tourist orchards and farms were developed to give the visitors a chance to pick vegetables and fruits of their choice. But this had its own impact and by mid 1990's agritourism developed against a few environmental protection laws. Efforts are being made to make Agritourism a part of Ecotourism (National Policy Foundation commentary on Ecotourism 2002).
Ecotourism and Ecotourists
According to Chang-Hung (Teresa) Tao, Paul F.J. Eagles and Stephen L.J. Smith there have been two driving forces for ecotourism, with the first being increasing interest in nature and natural environment and the second being growing concern over negative impacts of uncontrolled tourism development. "Ecotourism, properly operated and managed, balances both nature conservation and the needs of tourism development." A good understanding of the needs and attitudes of ecotourists travelling in protected areas would help develop management plans and strategies, which could contribute in establishing positive interaction among resource managers, tour operators, local residents and visitors, thus encouraging the effective management of protected areas (2004:1)
According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people." In addition people implementing and participating in ecotourism activities should follow the principles such as:
Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and