Taipei, March 12 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian and other senior government officials planted several seedlings of trees indigenous to Taiwan at the Taiwan Forest Research Institute located in Taipei on Monday to mark Arbor Day.
The Republic of China government designated March 12, the date of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's passing, as Arbor Day four years after his death in 1925 in remembrance of the national founding father's encouragement of afforestation efforts.
President Chen arrived at the forest research institute at 9 a.m. and planted a seedling of the Stout camphor, the island's largest indigenous broad-leaved tree variety and a source of top-quality wood for carvings and sculptures.
The Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) sponsored such an activity. The COA authorities have prepared a great number of seedlings of many other indigenous flora varieties, including the Formosan cinnamon, Taiwan incense cedar, Taiwan bischofia and Taiwan michelia, for government officials and the general public to plant during the special day.
COA officials said those plants are critical to the protection of Taiwan's natural environment. As steep mountain terrain above 1,000 meters elevation and hills and terraces between 100 and 1,000 meters above sea level make up 63 percent of Taiwan's total land area, the aforementioned plants are very important to ensuring a sustainable living environment on the island, they stressed.