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Forest Cover in China from 1949 to 2006


Song, Conghe H. & Zhang, Yuxing (2010). Forest Cover in China from 1949 to 2006.. Nagendra, Harini & Southworth, Jane (Eds.) (pp. 341-356). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.


Forests are the largest and most important terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, and they provide fundamental goods and services on which the welfare of human society depends (Salim and Ullsten 1999). Man’s attitude towards forests is evolving with human civilization, ranging from venerating them as sacred for their immensity, fearing them due to dangers associated with forests, finding them as impediments to agricultural development, to seeing them as sources of economic value (Vogt et al. 2007). Laarman and Sedjo (1992) summarized the goods and services that forests can provide for human welfare in five categories: (1) protective services and influences, such as soil and water conservation, climate regulation as well as conservation of biodiversity; (2) educational and scientific services, where forests are used in research and teaching to obtain and transmit basic knowledge; (3) psycho-physiological influences, including tourism, recreation, inspiration for art, religion and philosophy, etc.; (4) consumption of plants, animals and derivatives, referring to timber, fuelwood, and other derived products from forests; (5) source of land and living space. Traditional forest practice is primarily aimed at extraction of direct and derivative products from forests to maximize economic gains, while other goods and services that forests offer are frequently not adequately valued. As a result, large areas of forests are cut for timber or fuelwood every year. In addition, due to the rapid growth of human population, large areas of forests are either converted to cropland for food production or to developed area.


Reference Type

Book Section

Year Published


Series Title

Landscape Series


Song, Conghe H.
Zhang, Yuxing