Large-diameter trees have mainly been used for timber production in forestry practices. Recently, their critical roles played in biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecosystem functions have been recognized. However, current forestry policy on the management of large-diameter trees is weak. As China is the biggest consumer of large-diameter timbers, how to maintain sustainable large-diameter timber resources as well as maximize ecological functions of the forests is a critical question to address. Here we summarize historical uses, distribution patterns, and management strategies of large-diameter trees in China. We found that large-diameter trees are mainly distributed in old-growth forests. Although China’s forest cover has increased rapidly in the past decades, large-diameter trees are rarely found in plantation forests and secondary forests. We suggest that knowledge of large-diameter trees should be widely disseminated in local forestry departments, especially their irreplaceable value in terms of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functions. Protection of large-diameter trees, especially those in old-growth forests, is critical for sustainable forestry. To meet the increasing demand of large-diameter timbers, plantation forests and secondary forests should apply forest density management with thinning to cultivate more large-diameter trees.
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