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International Field Biology Course

International Field Biology Course
2020.05.24.~06.06. (2 weeks)
Fushan Forest Reserve, Taiwan
20 Students


         To provide a course to the study of field ecology and biodiversity conservation in the evergreen forests of Taiwan for graduate-entry level students, or equivalent level government and non-government scientists.


         Recognition of the importance of ecology to modern society has been slow in coming but as concerns over environmental issues, such as global warming, pollution, landscape degradation and the protection and management of biodiversity have increased over the past two decades, there has been a gradual realization of the necessity of having well trained biologists in universities and government bodies.

         Field courses are essential to the training of junior biologists. Unfortunately, field courses are expensive to run and difficult to organize, as a consequence, in modern university curriculum field practicals are generally cut to a minimum. Biologists entering graduate programs at university or joining relevant government bodies, therefore, often have a good grasp of the principles they learnt in the classroom but limited experience of applying these in the field. Moreover, junior researchers who come from outside the region have the additional handicap of lacking any exposure to the habitats found in the region. This field course is, therefore, designed to fill this gap. It will provide an introduction to different aspects of the study of ecology and biodiversity conservation in a subtropical evergreen forest, from plants and animals to modern ecological theories and conservation issues. In addition, this field course will give students hands-on experiences in a variety of forest habitats found throughout the island. 

        The course is organized at a regional level to enable students from different LTER member networks to participate. There will be four phases in this course. The first phase consists of lectures and practicals, second phase is excursion and the third phase is student independent projects, the last phase is a mini-symposium of final reports. Teaching staff will draw on a large body of experienced scientists from several universities and institutes. 


         The Fushan Experimental Forest (1,098 ha) is located in northeastern Taiwan (24˚45’N, 121˚35’E), and ranges in elevation from about 400 to 1400 m. A large portion of the Fushan forest is composed of natural forest containing diverse flora and fauna. The climate of Fushan is strongly influenced by the northeastern monsoon in winter and by typhoons in summer. It is cool and rainy in winter, but warm and humid in summer, with an average temperature of 18.2℃, a mean annual precipitation of 4271 mm, and a mean relative humidity (RH) of 95%. 

         Fushan LTER site was established in 1992 with the aims to understand the composition and functions of this ecosystem. More than 100 scientific papers have been published based on Fushan LTER research projects. Among many LT research sites, there is a 25 ha (500m x 500m) Fushan Forest Dynamics Plot (FDP). It was established in 2003 and three subsequent census of growth, mortality, and recruitment was conducted so far. A total of 114,508 individuals which belongs to 110 species was recorded in the first census. Fushan FDP (24°45’40”N, 121°33’28”E) is situated in an old-growth sub montane rainforest which can be categorized as the Machilus-Castanopsis zone of evergreen broad-leaved forests in Taiwan. The plot is located in a small upstream watershed and the topography is uneven and rugged with the elevation ranging from 600 to 733 above sea level. Many projects, such as seed trap, seedling plots, plant functional traits, soil chemistry etc., have also been conducted in the plot. 

*Course dates are tentative. 

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