Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Then and Now: Kappanzan

I was trawling through the East Asia Image Collection at Lafayette again when I found this shot of Kappanzan. That's the well known tourist site of Jiaobanshan. The Taoyuan County government website on the area, now a tourist area, is here. On Facebook the East Asia Image Collection describes its Kappanzan collection:
Kappanzan/Jiaobanshan entered Japanese colonial history as a hotly contested battleground in the war for precious timber in Taiwan's interior. By the 1930s, it was accessible to tourists and visiting government officials by push-cart rail, and was appointed with comfortable guest lodgings. Over the course of Japanese rule (1895-1945), this plateau became a "model village" for Japan's policies towards Indigenous Peoples. This series of images spans the time period 1910-1940.
One of the Taoyuan county government images of the area today.

I photographed the area in 2009. From the 7, the Northern Cross Island Highway, you can barely catch the plateau; there's a little road that goes down to an overlook with better views. The bend in the river is in the center of the photo (Google map link).
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StefanMuc said...

Isn't it strange that the vegetation used to reach much closer to the river than it does now? I wonder what's causing that - it doesn't seem like the water level was higher in the old picture. Maybe there is more frequent flooding these days?

Mark S. said...

Kapanzan (Jiǎobǎn Shān/角板山) is also described in Owen Rutter's Through Formosa, which was recently reissued in a new, annotated edition by Camphor Press.

Rutter visited the area in 1921. See chapters 10 and 11.

Mike Fagan said...

" Maybe there is more frequent flooding these days?"

An unnecessary postulate. Eighty years of erosion would do the trick.

StefanMuc said...

@Mike Fagan - only if the river is a new geological structure that was created 80 years ago.

If that effect was what's happening normally in 80 years, then it should have happened in the time from 160 years ago to 80 years ago, as well. Just like in the thousands of 80 year periods before it. Consequently in the two pictures we should see no difference in terms of how close vegetation reaches to the river.

Mike Fagan said...


Erosion rates are not constant, and the pressure put on the soil by greater water run-off and saturation will tend to cause the rate of erosion to increase. What happened in that area from eighty years ago to today that didn't happen in the preceding eighty years? Roads, farms, buildings, tourists etc...

Your welcome.

StefanMuc said...

@Mike Fagan - what's your actual point? The question interested me - you happen to have no information on the subject, no big deal. I'm welcome? Well, thank you so much for your efforts, whatever they may have been.

Mike Fagan said...

I was answering your question, as below:

"Isn't it strange that the vegetation used to reach much closer to the river than it does now?"

No, not really - since erosion would produce that result.

"Maybe there is more frequent flooding these days?"

An unnecessary postulate, since erosion would produce that result.

StefanMuc said...

Mike, a postulate is something which is you assume to be true - a guess for a potential cause is a hypothesis.

Erosion is a process which shapes the landscape by removing soil and rocks, typically driven by water or wind. "Answering" the question for the cause of a particular erosion pattern with "erosion caused it" is not adding anything.

Increased land use as you mentioned (roads, farms, building) may contribute to erosion - e.g. by sealing the surface, flood protection upriver etc - as it can increase the eroding effects of higher water level after heavy rain fall, for example.

There are other causes which could contribute too, some entirely natural. You don't know whether that's the case, and I can't fault you for that - I don't know either. I don't see why you felt the need to respond given that you have nothing to add.

Feel free to write a response, but in fairness I should tell you that I'm unsubscribing from this thread so I won't read it.

Mike Fagan said...


Behold the field in which grow my fvcks. Lay thine eyes vpon it, and thou shalt see that it is barren.