A Dialogue Between City and Forest
Ecological succession occurs naturally in the rural areas if the environment is left unmanaged for 5 to 10 years, irrespective of whether it is primary forest or secondary forest, floor vegetation, the middle layer and the top canopy layer of the forest, epiphytes, or plants that grow on each other. We then understand that humans are living in a natural environment and are surrounded by a variety of durable and strong plants. The ability to observe, in the process of analyzing and studying nature, already exists in our daily lives. During the era of Japanese rule in Taiwan, dormitories built for employees of the sugar factory were located in the downtown area, while Tsung-Yeh, the place where they worked, was situated in the rural areas. Plants in the different environments were very distinct from each other, both in terms of their type or in the way they grew. From perimeter walls to gardens, plants are similar to the surroundings and then change gradually. In the park at Tsung-Yeh, large old trees welcome all visitors from the neighborhood or other places to drop by or to stay. Since it is an open space, various kinds of new plants can grow there freely. Next to the dormitory of the Deputy General Manager in Tsung-Yeh, the site of the secondary forest was previously the site of the dormitory complex for the sugar factory. In the 1970s, the buildings were demolished and the site transformed itself into the secondary forest that we see today. In addition to the trees (such as Banyan and Surinam Calliandra) which originally belonged on the site, there is Devil's Ivy, which climbs upwards along the tree trunks. There are also arrowhead vines, and sun plants, such as some vines that adapt to full sunlight, including Coral Vines, Wild Morning-glory, Foully Operculina, Balloon Vines, and Thickfruit Millettia. There is also cultivation of shade-loving plants, such as the Snake Plant, Coralberry (Pigeonberry), Acalypha Indica, Milea-minute Weed, Common Sow Thistle, and Rabbit Milk Weed. Plants that are naturalized, native, or invasive, have all competed for expansion space at different times. Trees that were planted in the old sugar factory, such as mango, longan, camphor, and green maples, still blossom, bear fruit, and spread seeds in the neighboring area year by year. Some landscaping plants, such as various kinds of Ixora, Lantana Camara, Golden Spotted Leaf, Common Crepe Myrtle, and River Tea Trees, have accepted their destiny through blooming in time to please people. Different species seem to be following a pattern to grow in order, although there is still fierce competition between them.