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Innovative Technical Breakthrough Made to Restore the Degraded Natural Forests Landscape in China
Author:     Time: 2013-04-24

Forest landscape restoration with patches of mixed tree species
Forest landscape restoration with patches of mixed tree species

Led by the Chinese Academy of Forestry, a fifteen-year endeavor from 1995 to 2010 to thrust into the a series of technical studies on the “Natural Forest Protection and the Restoration of Degraded Natural Forests” achieved innovative technical breakthroughs. The study was joined by various research institutions including the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Sichuan Provincial Academy of Forestry Academy, Yunnan Provincial Academy of Forestry, Northeast Forestry University, Forest Management Research Institute of Liaoning Province, Guizhou University as well as Guangxi Normal University.

The research prioritized systematically on forest gap dynamics of the natural forests and the biodiversity conservation mechanism. It has explained the typical disturbance features of the tree canopy closure in natural forests and the circular pathways of alternative regeneration for different tree species. The affecting mechanism of time and space dynamics of the forest in regulating the synergy changes of forest community with the environment as well as the long term coexistence regime of several species that characterize with different life histories have been discerned. The study has put forward the theoretical framework on the relationship between the natural forest dynamic disturbance and the maintaining of biodiversity, which provides the technical reference parameters that can simulate the normal natural forest dynamics for logging and tending. Based on the functional traits of plants, a novelty approach of ecological restoration has been introduced to establish the optimizing patch disposition structure, which is categorized by the functional groups, for the potential vegetation reoccurrence and landscape restoration. The newly developed natural forest landscape restoration and spatial planning system has incorporated the existing forest inventory Class II and Class III that integrated into one computer-aided information management system which provides accurate and real time updated data.

For the first time in China, the said research developed the Forest Ecological Land Classification System with self-owned intellectual proprietary right, which consists of “Decision-making Support System for Forest Ecology Management” and the software for the planning to restore the degraded forest landscapes and to devise spatial zoning, providing new alternative means for degraded forest landscape restoration and multiple targets spatial planning

Natural forest accounts for roughly 70% of China’s forest areas and this research results has been successfully demonstrated and disseminated in forest restoration schemes for the primary natural forest types in nine provinces or regions across China. Due to the long time excessive logging and inadequate forest resource management practice, it resulted in severe ecological consequences of sharp decrease of resources and the degradation of ecological functions to the resources and environment. Therefore, it is imperative to take effective technical measures to accelerate the restoration and the quality per se to ensure the regional ecological security and sustainable socio-economic development. 

This research project has been presided over by Dr. LIU Shirong, Vice President and Chief research scientist in Forest Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Forestry. The technical breakthrough in methodology has won the 2nd Prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award of 2012. China National Science & Technology Progress Award is one of the five of National Science & Technology Awards that endows to those Chinese citizens and institutions who are creative and excelled in technical researches, development and dissemination of advance science and technology research results in addition to the promotion of high-tech industrialization.


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The technical application in regulating forest gap dynamics for regeneration and tending