The forest ecological security of the Yangtze River Economic Belt has an important influence on improving the regional environment and promoting the sustainable development of the social economy. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to provide countermeasures and suggestions for improving the level of regional ecological security by quantitatively analyzing the forest ecological security status of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and the tributaries of the Yangtze River. Using three main aspects, i.e., resources, socio-economic pressure and maintenance response, the study established 26 indicators that affect the forest ecological security of 11 provinces (cities) in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The index weights were determined by principal component analysis, and the forest ecological security levels of 11 provinces (cities) in the Yangtze River Economic Belt were classified and evaluated by the grey clustering method. The results show the following: (1) the principal component analysis determined the weight of the three aspect indicators. The order is as follows: resource index > socio-economic pressure index > maintenance response index. This means that the basic environmental condition which the forest growth depends on and quality and quantity of forest is most important, and the maintenance activities performed by human beings in forest resources need to be strengthened. (2) The level of the forest ecological security in all the provinces (cities) of the Yangtze River Economic Belt is relatively good, with an upward trend. The level of forest ecological security in each province (city) decreases from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River basin to the lower reaches, and the level of forest ecological security in the central cities is lower. (3) The resource index, socio-economic pressure index and maintenance response index of all the provinces and cities showed an upward trend in these four years. The provinces with a significantly higher forest resource index include Yunnan and Guizhou. Shanghai, Chongqing, Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangxi were the provinces with significantly higher socio-economic pressure values; Yunnan province, Shanghai, Jiangxi Province and Hubei province were the provinces with higher forest maintenance response values.
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