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Landscape resources

The rugged landscapes are a "specialty" of Yenchao Geopark. Main lietmotifs of this area are pictured via Wushanding mud volcano, Yangnui Lake, Jhongliao Hill and Jiguanshan. In the area with a number of frequent erupting events, being the biggest and highest conical mud volcano visible in Taiwan, Wushanding has its own uniqueness and values of not only geology and geomorphology but also in education and aesthetics. Besides, Yangnui Lake, Jhongliao Hill, Jiguanshan and other famous attractions in Yenchao Geopark appeal to many cycling enthusiasts. They have become a Mecca for cyclists, as cycling has become an eco-friendly and fashionable sport.

Annually from October and April, due to the shortage of rainfall, the badland areas are dominated by gullies and little farming takes place. Local residents build low dikes and reservoirs to keep water for irrigation. Therefore, badland reservoirs and ponds are landscapes of natural and cultural structures, showing how people adapt to the badland environment. Some local farming reservoirs are constructed to keep not only water from precipitation but also avoid mineral rich runoffs coming into the reservoir with muddy clay directly. It is known as a special local traditional wisdom accumulated through time. Mud volcanoes are deposits created by the geo-excreted liquids and are composed of underground mudstone and water. The lifting force of liquids results from the tectonic stress and methane gases emitted from the well-developed fault zones and fold axis. The shape of mud volcanoes is determined by the viscosity (water content) of the mud. The major shapes of mud volcanoes include mud holes, mud cones, mud shields and mud basins.  Aside from the shapes of mud volcanoes, the emission activities of mud, mud flows and subsequent shrinkage help produce unique and sometimes interesting features. In addition, earth fingers formed by rainfall erosion, nature bridges, and small gorges/canyons are geological features unique to mud volcanoes.

In Yenchao, agriculture and tourism are now the two main sectors of economy. Agriculturally, soils in this badland originated from mud volcanoes with slight gray quality, containing sodium (sulfates) and magnesium oxide are suitable for guavas, jujubes and grapefruits. Guava trees take up 1600 ha and can be harvested in the whole year. Jujubes are a specialty of Yenchao in winter. Grapefruits, guavas and sweet jujubes (dates) are regarded as the three treasures of Yenchao.

Regarding to tourism and environmental education, all major sites at Yenchao has convenient accessibility to enhance its potential. Landscape and environmental interpretation are a thriving activity as the local cultural association takes the lead in educating local community members to become capable interpreters. The combined development of tourism and environmental education is the center of the landscape economy, where the local interpreters develop excellent interpreting materials and monitor the area’s changing landscape (Lin & Su, 2019).
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[1] Lin, J. C., Su, S. C. (2019). Geoparks of Taiwan. Their development and Prospects for a Sustainable Future