Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (7): 1253-1267.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201807006

• Land Use and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Forest transition and its explanation in contiguous destitute areas of China

WANG Hong1(),YAN Jianzhong1(),LI Huilian1,2   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
    2. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
  • Received:2017-09-22 Online:2018-07-25 Published:2018-07-13
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41570193


Since the beginning of the 20th century, forest restoration, as the main theme of global forest development, has gradually replaced deforestation. It is of great significance to explore the transition path of China's forests, as China has abundant forest resources. Based on the MODIS land cover data, 14 contiguous destitute areas of China are chosen as study areas to analyze the characteristics of forest transition from 2002 to 2013. Using the method of cold/hot spot analysis, we investigate the forest change trend and its spatial heterogeneity. In addition, we explore factors affecting forest area change by a linear regression model and disclose the forest transition pathways in contiguous destitute areas. The results show that net forest area of the 14 contiguous destitute areas increases by 106554.75 km2, with a growth rate of 11.93%, which means that the forest transition may enter the last stage. The Qinling-Daba Mountains, Wuling Mountains, southeastern Tibet and the eastern part of Yanshan-Taihang Mountains are hot areas of forest area increase, while the cold areas of forest area increase are mainly distributed in the vast area north of the 800 mm isohyetal line, Dabie Mountains and the eastern part of Yunnan-Guizhou-Guangxi rocky desertification areas. Both the increase of non-agricultural population and the implementation of forestry projects play significant roles in promoting forest transition, thus forest transition of 14 contiguous destitute areas of China mainly follows the economic development pathway and the state forest policy pathway. Some policy implications are also put forward. The pace of construction of small towns in contiguous destitute areas should be speeded up to depopulate rural areas. At the same time, rural eco-tourism should be developed on the basis of rich natural resources to help promote targeted measures in poverty alleviation. As for state forest policies, contiguous destitute areas should be regarded as the key areas for ecological construction so as to protect natural resources effectively.

Key words: contiguous destitute areas, forest transition, cold/hot spot, the increase of non-agricultural population, state forest policy