Taiwan: Illegal cypress logging gets worse on Chilan mtn.

“The illegal cypress logging is getting worse year by year in the
Chilan mountain area, but the government has done nothing about the
situation, ” said Tien, adding that local loggers have felled a great
number of valuable 1,000-year-old Chinese cypresses due to a lack of
environmental protection in the area.

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Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien
Chiu-chin urged President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration Thursday to
protect the country’s remaining cypress forests by establishing
another national park. Speaking at a press conference at the
Legislative Yuan, Tien urged the government to stop illegal cypress
logging in the Chilan mountain area of northern Taiwan by establishing
a Chilan cypress national park.

According to Tien, the government planned to establish a Chilan — or Magaw in the aboriginal Atayal language — national park some six years ago, but the plan was delayed indefinitely due to objections and obstructions by indigenous tribespeople for whom the area is their traditional homeland and who would be kicked off the land according to existing laws that prohibit
aborigines from living in national parks.

“If the aboriginal people are still dissatisfied with the results of the park after five years, they can petition for the exclusion of their land from the park, ”
said Tien, adding that if the aborigines “continue to oppose to the
protection of the environment and the precious forests in the area, ”
they might soon lose everything to illegal loggers. Three of Taiwan’s
six national parks have long been a point of contention between the
government and aborigines. Indigenous tribes such as the Bunun and
Atayal bemoan the fact that their ancestral lands are being violated
and that they are deprived of their rights to ritual activities such
as hunting.

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