Title: China's key forestry programs: economic, social and ecological rationales

Authors: Claudio O. Delang

Addresses: Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

Abstract: In 1997 and 1998, China experienced a series of droughts and floods on its largest river basins, the Yellow and the Yangtze Rivers. These environmental disasters were blamed on the deforestation that had taken place in the two rivers' watersheds during the previous decades, and prompted the introduction of nation-wide forest conservation and reforestation programs. This paper reviews: 1) the six Key Forestry Programs (KFPs) undertaken, which together cover almost three million km² and cost some CNY 900 billion; 2) the reasons for the government to start these programs. I argue that while in the late 1990s the government had the budget surplus to undertake these programs, the KFPs addressed a number of problems which were becoming increasingly important, including increasing inequality between urban and rural areas; growing downstream costs of upstream environmental degradation; excessive production of rice which was depressing farmers' incomes; and a growing scarcity of timber.

Keywords: reforestation programmes; forest conservation; Grain for Green Programme; GfG; Natural Forest Protection Programme; NFPP; Key Shelterbelt Development Programmes; Sandification Control Programme; Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Development Programme; Fast-Growing and High-Yielding Timber Plantation Development Programme; China; environmental degradation; timber scarcity; ecological rationale; social rationale; economic rationale.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGENVI.2016.081047

International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, 2016 Vol.15 No.4, pp.281 - 299

Accepted: 29 Feb 2016
Published online: 19 Dec 2016 *

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