Taiwan is facing a biodiversity crisis with global impacts. For such a small region, Taiwan hosts 1.5 percent of the world's species, and one-tenth of the total marine species on earth. But Taiwan is on the edge of a full-scale biodiversity collapse. Habitat loss, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and invasive species are all shattering its fragile ecosystems. This dissertation explores how the impacts from Taiwan's limited participation in the global biodiversity governance system, and how Taiwan's ill-equipped domestic legal framework, impair Taiwan's ability to conserve its biodiversity.
As discussed in Chapter 1, the interdependent nature of Taiwan's biodiversity makes it a matter of "common concern" under international law. Weak protection of Taiwan's biodiversity has global repercussions. For instance, Taiwan is an important, but unprotected, stop for birds migrating through the East Asia Pacific region.
Chapter 2 reviews the major efforts within the global biodiversity governance system to resolve the biodiversity crisis. The effectiveness of the biodiversity governance system depends on strong treaties, international conservation organizations, and domestic conservation laws. However, Taiwan currently has a unique international legal status, where it is allowed to participate neither in international environmental treaties nor international conservation organizations. Chapter 3 discusses how Taiwan's unique legal status harms global conservation efforts. Furthermore, Taiwan's domestic legal framework is ill-equipped to address the biodiversity crisis. Chapter 4 examines the impacts of Taiwan's inadequate domestic conservation framework.
In Chapter 5, this dissertation recommends practical approaches to overcome the challenges of protecting Taiwan's biodiversity. First, Taiwan must strengthen its domestic legal framework, particularly the Wildlife Conservation Law. Second, Taiwan should take steps to join the global biodiversity governance system. The concept of "ecological entity" could be a politically comfortable way to sidestep the unique status of Taiwan under international law.
Although Taiwan lacks widespread international legal recognition, the fact that Taiwan is a global conservation priority region harboring globally significant biodiversity is undeniable. As part of a globally interdependent and interconnected ecosystem, Taiwan must be included in the global biodiversity governance system to ensure the future of Taiwan's biodiversity.