Preserved from the utilitarian Chinese by the head-hunting custom of the aboriginal population, it is sincerely to be hoped that these forests may not be destroyed by the progressive Japanese. — Ernest Henry “Chinese” Wilson
1918年1月22日，英國植物學家與探險家威爾森（Ernest Henry “Chinese” Wilson）踏上基隆港碼頭，展開為期六個月的臺灣山林探險。這是威爾森第四次來到東亞（但是第一次來到臺灣）。自1899年以來，在英國費區園藝公司（Veitch Nurseries）、哈佛大學阿諾德樹木園（Arnold Arboretum）等機構的資助下，他已調查了雲南、四川、日本、朝鮮（當時為日本殖民地）、琉球等地的森林。
Word was sent down from Tokyo to the authorities here and an English speaking secretary met me on the ship at Keelung and escorted to Taihoku, the capital, afterwards he acted as interpreter when I called on the officials. The governor general, Baron Ando, is a particularly genial old soldier and gave me a very cordial welcome. The officials, one and all, promise every assistance and there is no doubt but that they mean it. A Mr. Kanehira, who speaks English and is one of the heads of the forestry department has been detailed to accompany me to Ari-san and will probably go elsewhere with me also. He is very nice fellow and I fancy will make a genial companion. Everything here is under government control and those in its good graces can do much.
的確，在金平亮三及其助手佐佐木舜一的引領、以及數十名日本警察與原住民挑夫的協助下，威爾森的臺灣採集之旅進行地異常順利（儘管威爾森還是認為台灣的山區非常的陡峭與野蠻，旅行並不容易：“The country is very steep and savage and travelling over it is hard work.”）。在不到半年的時間內，他繞了臺灣一整圈、 走訪了奇萊山區、參觀了著名的三大林場（阿里山、八仙山與太平山）、 攻頂玉山、採集了大量臺灣杉、巒大杉、臺灣冷杉、紅檜、扁柏等珍貴樹種的種子與上萬份植物標本、並拍攝了近上百份的照片。1918年四月，在其來臺的三個月後，威爾森自豪地向哈佛的Sargent報告：
One objective I had in mind on visiting the island was to see, if possible, every conifer known to grow there. Dr. Hayata in Tokyo assured me this was impossible but the local authorities took a more favorable view and thanks to their good services complete success has crowned our efforts. I have seen, photographed and collected ample material of every species and variety of conifer known from Formosa.
1922年，威爾森在阿諾德樹木園的機關報（Journal of the Arnold Arboretum）上發表了一篇題為福爾摩沙木本植物相的植物地理學概要（A Phytogeographical Sketch of the Lingneous Flora of Formosa）的文章。
在福爾摩沙的山上，威爾森寫道，是東亞最美的森林（the finest forests of eastern Asia），與在加州之外已知的最大與最高的針葉樹（最大的針葉樹是扁柏，最高的針葉樹是臺灣杉；在這裡威爾森的比較基準是加州世界爺）。福爾摩沙的確是東方之珠（Formosa is indeed the “Pearl of the Orient”），在文章的結尾，威爾森指出，而閃爍在這真珠上的光芒，是由樟科與殼斗科組成的常綠林，是巨大的紅檜與扁柏，以及高聳的臺灣杉。
These guard lines are of many parallel strands of wire charged every night from 7 p.m. (all day and times of actual trouble) with underground mines at intervals and connected by wire one with another to prevent the savages digging under the guardlines.