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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Forest Conservation Policies with Multitemporal Remotely Sensed Imagery: A Case Study from Tiantangzhai Township, Anhui, China

Citation

Zhang, Qi; Hakkenberg, Christopher R.; & Song, Conghe H. (2018). Evaluating the Effectiveness of Forest Conservation Policies with Multitemporal Remotely Sensed Imagery: A Case Study from Tiantangzhai Township, Anhui, China. (pp. 39-58). Elsevier.

Abstract

Forests are declining across the globe due primarily to the overutilization of forest resources, particularly in developing countries. China, the world's largest developing country, is no exception. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, it experienced a severe decline in forest resources, eventually leading to devastating natural disasters in the late 1990s. In response to these disasters, the Chinese government adopted a series of new forest policies including the Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program (CCFP) and the public welfare forest (PWF) program to mitigate the effects of future extreme weather events. The CCFP targets soil and water conservation by incentivizing farmers to convert cropland on steep slopes or other ecologically sensitive areas to forests. The PWF program prohibits logging to conserve natural forests. This case study was devised to examine the potential for using multitemporal remotely sensed data to monitor forest development associated with the CCFP and PWF programs in Tiantangzhai township, Anhui province, China. Results from the multitemporal remote sensing analysis indicate that the Tiantangzhai study area experienced a net increase in forest cover during the 21-year period from 1992 to 2013, especially after the implementation of the CCFP and PWF programs in 2002 and 1999, respectively. In addition to quantifying change in the areal extent of forest cover, three remotely sensed forest succession indexes were developed to characterize the temporal trajectory of forest canopy development. The canopy closure index, the maturity index, and the synergistic succession index reveal net forest canopy development including higher density canopies in younger forests and increasing canopy complexity in mature forests. These findings confirm our hypothesis that the CCFP and PWF programs had an observable effect upon both the quantity and quality of forest development within the Tiantangzhai study area.

URL

http://dx.doi.org//10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.10435-X

Reference Type

Book Section

Year Published

2018

Author(s)

Zhang, Qi
Hakkenberg, Christopher R.
Song, Conghe H.