Spratly islands
PDepartment: Conservation Research Section Publish Date:2010-05-28 Hits:10481
Spratly Islands

The Nansha Islands are over 230 islands, sandbanks, reefs and beaches, only about 50 of which are normally above water.

Taiping Island is the largest island in the Nansha Islands, with an area of around 36.5 hectares ( a check of current land registration data on February 8, 2010 showed that 62.6% of the land belongs to Nansha Command, Coastguard Administration, and 37.4% to the Armaments Bureau, the Ministry of National Defense).Ban Than Reef lies to around 3.24 nautical miles to the east. It has an area of 0.2 hectare (0.6 at low tide). It is under the jurisdiction of Kaohsiung City’s Qijin District.

Taiping Island is 3.24 nautical miles from Ban Than Reef, with Sand Cay 7.02 nautical miles to its east and Gaven Reef 16.2 nautical miles to the southwest.

Taiping Island  is long and narrow and flat, with 1,289 meters long and about 365 meters wide north-south. The area within the shoreline is 41.3 hectares, with 36.6 hectares covered by vegetation. It has an elevation of 4-6 meters and it is the only island in the Nansha Islands with fresh ground water.

An aerial photograph of Taiping Island

The Taiping island, whose vegetation is typical tropical coastal forest, and is on the migration route for East Asian migratory birds. The sea to the north ranges from 7-45 meters in depth and retains a relatively complete marine ecosystem.

Special features of natural resources

  1. Flora:1994 survey:Taiping Island has coastal forest that is more complete than on Taiwan’s main island, with 109 species of vascular plant
    2004 and 2008 surveys:Showed a decrease of 29 species and increase of 20, 10 of which were cultivars
  2. Land invertebrates:As of 2009, 56 species had been recorded.
  3. Birds:In 2008, Professor Zhang Xue-wen observed 60 species, mostly migratory birds, showing that the Nansha Islands are an important rest point for migratory birds in East Asia.
  4. Coral
    1994:190 species of coral in 69 genera and 24 families were recorded
    2009:estimated to be around 300 species
  5. Coral reef fish species
    1981: 173 series in 33 families
    1994: 399 species in 49 families(Shao&Chen)
    2009:310 species in 44 families, including 66 newly recorded species (Shao&Chen)
    In the three surveys (1981,1994,2009) in total 515 species in 6 families have been recorded. It is expected that if survey time and frequency are increased more new species can be found.
  6. Sea grass
    Up to 2009 five species of sea grass in two families have been recorded-- Hydrochria dubia (Bl.) Backer, Cymodocea rotundata, Thalassia hemprichii,Halodule uninervis and Syringodium isoetifolium, accounting for around 10% of the world total.
  7. Sea turtles
    Professor Chen Yi-jun carried out surveys of sea turtles in 1996,2000,2001 and 2003 and set up a satellite tracking device. In November, 2008, graduate students from the Sea Turtle Research Lab recorded 12 green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs on Taiping Island on two nights.

The eight sights of Taipei Island:

  1. Nansha starry sky
  2. Sea turtle hatchery area
  3. Qianqiaotou sunset
  4. Old Qianqiaotou sunrise
  5. Birdwatching from the floating bridge
  6. South coast of the island
  7. ”Key to the south” stone tablet
  8. Si-an Pavilion
Taiping Island has rich ecological resources Nansha is an important rest stop for migratory birds in East Asia
Taiping Island’s sea grass species account for 10% of the world’s sea grass species The large number of sea grass species make Taiping Island an important research observation point
Last Updated on 2012-09-24
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Last update:2015-10-13