The forest conservation program implemented by the Chinese government a decade ago is showing signs of success.
For decades, illegal logging, flooding and conversion of forests into farmland have taken a toll on China’s forests.
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The Chinese government has taken some serious steps to curb clearcut logging and to restore forests across the country. Now, these conservation efforts are showing signs of success.
A latest study reveals that China has shown improvement in tree cover after the implementation of 1998 Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP), the largest forest conservation program in the world.
“It is encouraging that China's forest has been recovering in the midst of its daunting environmental challenges such as severe air pollution and water shortages,” said co-author Jianguo Liu, director of MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS).
“In today's telecoupled world, China is increasingly connected with other countries both socioeconomically and environmentally. Every victory must be measured holistically, or we aren't getting a true picture.”
Needless to say, forests play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide from atmosphere, slowing rising temperatures and maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity. The same policy can be adopted by rest of the countries to solve the global issue of deforestation.
At the beginning of 21st century, China has commenced a forest conservation program. They banned illegal timber and even compensated residents for monitoring activities and preventing illegal logging in some forested area.
Over the 2000 -2010 period, the nation witnessed a significant recovery in about 1.6 percent (157,300 square kilometers) of China's territory while 0.38 percent territory continued to lose tree cover.
The study, published in journal Science Advances, used a unique combination of data to assess the net gain in tree cover including satellite images acquired by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer as well as high spatial resolution imagery available in Google Earth.
“Our results are very positive for China,” said lead author Andrés Viña of MSU-CSIS. “If you look at China in isolation, its program is working effectively and contributing to carbon sequestration in accordance to its agenda for climate change mitigation.”
China is the most populous nation on Earth and is one of the world’s largest importers, consumers and exporters of wood-based products. The improvement in China’s tree cover has global consequences by virtue of the countries magnitude and the rapidity of its development.”