When we are trying to gain some understanding of any national park, it is useful to consider in what country and what area the park lies. Shei-Pa National Park is in Taiwan, so a quick review of Taiwan may be helpful here.
Taiwan, or Formosa as it used to be called, is an island about 160 kilometers off the southeast coast of Mainland China, between Japan and Philippines on a line running north-southwest. It is approximately 36,000 square kilometers in size, about the same size as Holland, and a little larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut States combined. Three quarters of the land area is mountainous, much of it too steep to be cultivated easily. There are more than 200 peaks over 3,000 meters in altitude. The highest of them, Jade Mountain reaches 3,952 meters.
The climate is subtropical, and rainfall is heavy: average annual rainfall in the north is 100 inches(2,540 mm).
The population now numbers 23 million, mainly ethnic Chinese, but including also more than 300, 000 aborigines of south Pacific ancestry, languages, and culture. The people live mostly on the level plains, where the population density is very high. The population has increased very fast recently, moreover in one generation Taiwan has changed from an agricultural to a predominantly industrial society. Taiwan, with its warm climate, abundant rainfall, steep mountains and valleys, is rich in natural resources co-existing in a delicate equilibrium. This equilibrium is particularly threatened in two ways: firstly, owing to the steepness of the slopes and the force of the rainfalls, the forest cover is essential to prevent erosion, with loss both of soil and of water. Secondly, the rapid development of human life causes many kinds of disturbance to the ecology, with the danger that today's advantages might be at the expense of man's future This situation gives a particular urgency to the work of the national parks: to prevent certain chosen parts of the country from being overwhelmed by industrial growth; to provide areas where people can get recreation and exercise in contact with nature; and, especially important in a rapidly developing country, teach visitors in the park how to enjoy, understand and protect the wild life around them.