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Forests 2016, 7(10), 218; doi:10.3390/f7100218

Has China’s Natural Forest Protection Program Protected Forests?—Heilongjiang’s Experience

1
Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2
Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
3
College of Economics and Management, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 21 July 2016 / Revised: 18 September 2016 / Accepted: 21 September 2016 / Published: 29 September 2016
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Abstract

Since the late 1990s, China has been implementing one of the largest ecological restoration initiatives in not only the country but also the world—the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP). An overarching question is how severe the regional deforestation had become before the NFPP was initiated and whether the forest condition in the protected area has significantly improved afterwards. The goal of this study was to assess the land use and land cover changes (LULCC) and the interplays between different land uses in northeast China from the late 1970s to 2013. Classification results were validated through accuracy assessments using the rule-based rationality evaluation scheme and the spatially balanced sampling method. It was found that the regional forestland suffered significant and persistent decline, about 20.4% loss, before 2000 when the NFPP was launched; thereafter, however, the forestland became gradually stabilized and reforestation became more prevalent. Further examination based on extended conversion matrixes revealed that the largest proportional decline came from wetland, instead of forestland, due to farmland encroachment. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural forest protection; land-use and land-cover change; deforestation; reforestation; agricultural expansion; wetland loss; extended conversion matrix natural forest protection; land-use and land-cover change; deforestation; reforestation; agricultural expansion; wetland loss; extended conversion matrix
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Shi, M.; Qi, J.; Yin, R. Has China’s Natural Forest Protection Program Protected Forests?—Heilongjiang’s Experience. Forests 2016, 7, 218.

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