Based on historical documents, modern survey and statistics, as well as the result of predecessor studies, the trend and main process of forest dynamics are recognized. The forest area and forest coverage rates for each province of China from 1700 to 1949 are estimated backward by every 50 years. Linking the result with modern National Forest Inventory data, the spatial-temporal dynamics of Chinese forest in recent 300 years (A.D.1700-1998) is quantitatively analyzed. The study shows that in recent 300 years, the forest area in current territory of China has declined 0.95 ×108 ha (or 9.2 percentage points of coverage rate) in total, with a trend of decrease and recovery. Before the 1960s, there was a trend of accelerated descending. The forest area was reduced 1.66×108 ha (or 17 percentage points of coverage rate) in 260 years. While after the 1960s, there has been a rapid increase. The forest area increased by 0.7×108 ha (or 8 percentage points of coverage rate) in 40 years. The study also shows that there is a significant spatial difference in the dynamics of forest. The amplitudes of increasing and decreasing in western China are both smaller than the ones in eastern China. During the rapid declining period 1700-1949, the most decrease appeared in the Northeast, the Southwest and the Southeast, where the coverage rate in most provinces dropped over 20 percentage points. In Heilongjiang Province, the coverage rate dropped 50 points. In Jilin Province, it dropped 36 points. In Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality, it dropped 42 points. In Yunnan Province, it dropped 35 points. During the recovery period 1949-1998, the western provinces, municipality and autonomous regions, including Ningxia, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan-Chongqing, Yunnan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Qinghai, etc., the increase rates of the coverage are all below 5 percentage points, while the eastern provinces, municipality and autonomous regions (except Heilongjiang, Hubei and Jiangsu-Shanghai) have achieved an increase over 5 percentage points, among which the Guangdong-Hainan, Guangxi, Anhui, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Zhejiang and Fujian have an increase over 10 points.