After the typhoon in Taiwan, there has been some news about closing some high mountain tea farms so they won't cause more damages in the mountains. I heard about this many years ago. I recently called some tea friends to see if they are doing alright and to ask about the news. They also said they have heard about these closures many years ago.
There were some tea farms "behind the Alishan region, and one in the YuShan region" that have been shut down. It was very dangerous to go up there. They said the government has isn't likely to shut down an existing tea farm. However, it will be difficult to develop new tea regions.
My tea contacts heard some rumors that are quite disturbing. They heard that some wealthy businessmen from China were talking about buying up the whole Lishan region! I have also heard about Starbucks wanting to buy a lot of tea from Taiwan. For the selfish part of me, I hope none of the deals will go through.
The beauty of some Taiwanese tea is that many of tea farms are owned by individual farmers and Taiwanese Oolongs are quite labor intensive. Having been in the tea business for several years, one of my great joys is to go the tea growing areas and talk to farmers, to see their hard work, to see their proud faces, and to exchange that smile when we all agree on a good tea.
Taiwanese tea compared to the rest of the world's tea is not cheap. So once again let's pray that those big business deals will not go through. Let some of the tea art remain alive!