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Professor Kuo, Guardian of the Forests

Professor Kuo, Guardian of the Forests

Professor Yau-Lun Kuo has been named “2019 Commendable Contributor to the Conservation of Forests and Nature” by the Council of Agriculture. On April 2nd, the Department of Forestry Nursery held a press conference, hosted by NPUST President Chan-Hsien Tai. The dean of the College of Agriculture, Professor Fure-Chyi Chen, director of the Department of Forestry, Professor Chih-Chiang Wang, and Professor Mei-Huei Chen were also invited to be present for the meeting.

Professor Yau-Lun Kuo of the NPUST Department of Forestry has spared no effort in his forestry and natural ecosystem conservation research. His expertise includes forest ecology physiology, control and ecological rehabilitation of the Leucaena leucocephala, and shade and drought tolerance of Taiwan’s native tree species. He has received national acclaim in his field and five times been named an Outstanding Professional by the Ministry of Science and Technology. He has also been an active promotor of the cultivation and health benefits of the red Chenopodium, and has advanced knowledge on invasive tree species control. Both in academic theory and practical technology, Professor Kuo has made outstanding contributions in his field.  

Professor Kuo, expressed that looking back at the 31 years he has spent as an educator and researcher at the school, he is very grateful that the university has been able to provide the department with a 5-hectare nursery to carry out its research.

He explained that “over the past 15 years, by personally conducting cultivation work, field collections, purchasing seeds and obtaining seeds from the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, we have already collected more than half of Taiwan’s 588 native tree species -- with somewhere around 360 types of broad leaved trees planted at the nursery. There is no other university in Taiwan which has made so much progress in this area. In addition to providing students with the means to distinguish between trees, it also raises their competitiveness in hands-on work in the field.”

Thanks to Professor Kuo’s research, they have been able to establish the characteristics Taiwan’s native trees and complete a directory of 300 shade tolerant plants; thus providing an important reference for people conducting horticulture, landscaping and tree planting activities.

Professor Kuo also explained how 13 years ago a student discovered that members of the Paiwan Tribe nearby the university were planting a colorful Chenopodium, the name of which was not determined. The tribe was using the plant in the brewing of millet wine. Kuo thus began researching the red-colored Chenopodium and sharing the information he obtained. Professor Kuo formed an inter-disciplinary research team with many different teachers and after 3 years they were finally able to confirm via the Kyoto University Herbarium that the plant was endemic to Taiwan – the Chenopodium formosanum. They also learned that this red Chenopodium is rich in nutritious properties; and so, they worked to get the word out and help the indigenous tribe to reap in the economic benefits of this plant which is part of their heritage.

NPUST President Change-Hsien Tai expressed that “under Professor Kuo’s sustainable thinking, he has shouldered a mission to foster talent in the field and promote forest conservation. He has contributed to the development of Taiwan’s agriculture and forestry industries and advanced the conservation of biodiversity – sparing no effort in his work. He is a guardian of the forests and natural ecosystems and also a model for our students and society. Now, on account of his meritorious work, he has been honored as a Commendable Contributor to the Conservation of Forests.”


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