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Forests 2016, 7(10), 232; doi:10.3390/f7100232

Spatial Heterogeneity in Chinese Forest Area Change in the Early 21st Century

1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Barry Brook and Jessie C. Buettel
Received: 14 May 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 12 October 2016
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Abstract

A comprehensive set of 30-m resolution land coverage data of 2000 and 2010 was used for an analysis of the spatial heterogeneity of forest area change in early 21st century China. Four regression models were built to determine the current situation of the ‘forest transition’ in China. The results show that forest area in China has grown rapidly over this period such that total forest area has increased by 102,500 km2 and forest cover has increased by 1.06%. Our results demonstrate the presence of a ‘U-shaped’ relationship, the so-called ‘forest transition’, between forest area change and per capita gross domestic product (GDP). We estimate that the inflection point in the Chinese ‘forest transition’ will be at a per capita GDP of 50,522 yuan. In the future, regions with lower elevations, or slope, should be the focus of attention because of dramatic recent forest changes. In particular, forest areas in the regions of the Xiaoxing’anling-Changbaishan Mountains and in South China have markedly decreased, and these are areas of concern. In the meantime, the government needs to strengthen the management of large-scale interconversions between forest and grassland. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest area change; early 21st century; China; forest transition forest area change; early 21st century; China; forest transition
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Wang, J.; Xin, L.; Tan, M.; Wang, Y. Spatial Heterogeneity in Chinese Forest Area Change in the Early 21st Century. Forests 2016, 7, 232.

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