This chapter is concerned with the land and climate in Taiwan Area. The size of territory of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is approximately 36,000 square kilometers. It comprises the main island of Taiwan (Taiwan Proper), the archipelagoes of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, as well as a number of other islands.
Taiwan proper is part of the arc that lies closest to the continent and marks the edge of the Asiatic continental shelf. Measuring about 400 kilometers from north to south and around 145 kilometers from east to west at its widest, it constitutes about 99 percent of the area under the nation’s jurisdiction. The Central Mountain Range slopes gently to a broad and fertile plain in the west. In the east, the mountains descend precipitously to the Pacific. The island’s uplands are so extensive that only about one-fifth of Taiwan is arable. Shorelines are fairly straight and there are few good natural harbors. Rivers are short and useful for power generation, but not for navigation. Taiwan proper can be divided into five major physiographical regions: mountain ranges, volcanic mountains, foothills, tablelands, and coastal plains and basins.
The cultivated land refers to land under temporary and permanent crops, and can be classified into paddy field, and upland field of registed land, non-registed land, river alluvial land, tidal land, slope land, and virgin field. Before 1995, data of forest land area is obtained from an aerial survey from 1973 to 1977 while data of 1995 was from survey from 1984 to 1993.
The Central Weather Bureau distinctively takes the responsibility for meteorological, seismological, and related marine and astronomical operations of the nation. Taiwan’s climate is subtropical but pleasant. Recently, the average temperature is between 11°C (51.8°F) and 26°C (78.8°F). Summer runs from May to October, and a mild winter from December to February. Local and seasonal variations are numerous. The north is often rainy in the winter and the south in the summer. Snow is rare and falls only on the higher mountains.