Lai Pei-yuan and his family accumulated a great wealth in the transportation and real estate business, during Taiwan economic boom. But, as he said:
I had seen how companies prospered and declined. I felt I wanted to do something that could last for generations to come …
His dream was to plant trees, to recover at least some of the original legendary taiwanese forests, that has been sacrificed to the economic development or just plain greed. So, Lai, now 57 years old, …
for the past three decades, has bought and planted thousands of trees every year, often with his own hands.
Today his efforts can be seen in the 130 hectares of mountainsides near Greater Taichung covered with 270,000 deep-rooted trees, representing indigenous species such as Taiwan incense cedar and Cinnamomum micranthum.
This land lies in Heping Township, the mountainous part of Taichung City, in the Dasyueshan (Daxueshan) area. It is not an amusement park, of course, and it is not even open to the public, in order to preserve the slow growing indigenous forest.
His son, Lai Chien-chung, is selling coffee that is grown and harvested in the father’s forest, among camphor trees. He has recently opened a coffee shop, named “Coffee & Tree”, in Taichung. As he states, 95% of the profits are used to maintain the forest.