Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2013, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (9): 872-888.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1258.2013.00091

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review of the present situation and future prospect of science of protective forest

ZHU Jiao-Jun1,2,3*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;

    2Liaoning Key Laboratory for Management of Non-commercial Forest, Shenyang 110016, China;

    3Qingyuan Experimental Station of Forest Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
  • Received:2013-05-02 Revised:2013-08-09 Online:2013-09-02 Published:2013-09-01
  • Contact: ZHU Jiao-Jun


The science of protective forest includes the theories and technologies of creating and managing (using, conserving, repairing and renewing) protective forests in a sustainable manner to meet the desired goals, needs, and values for human benefits. This science is practiced in both plantations and natural stands. Its major goal is to create and manage protective forests to continue a sustainable benefit of protection for the objectives needed to be protected. The development of this science mostly depends on the requirements from the creation of protective forests because it is a related science involving the practice of growing and tending trees and the protective forests. It is an applied art and a technology. The worldwide national-level ecological engineering projects, such as the Great Plains Shelterbelt Project (Roosevelt Engineering) in USA, the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature in the former Soviet Union, the forestry and water conservation projects in Japan and the Green Dam Engineering Project in the five countries of North Africa, promoted the development of the science of protective forest. The major advances in the science included planning and design, tree species selection, spatial arrangement, planting technologies, structure modeling, thinning and tending, decline and regeneration and benefit assessment. There is much more literature on benefit assessment than other aspects. In China, many areas are influenced by desertification, soil and water loss and windy climate, so protective forests have been created widely, especially the Three North Protective Forest Program (the Green Great Wall) initiated in the west of Northeast China, the north of North China and Northwest China. Therefore, the science of protective forest has developed greatly as well, especially with significant contributions to management theory and techniques. The science of protective forest generally contains a broad range of concerns on the theories and technologies in creating and managing protective forests, which are linked by the benefit assessment. In fact, all forests, particularly non-commercial forests have protective functions. The methods of studying protective forests range from the stand scale to more microcosmic and to more macroscopic scales. With regard to creation of protective forests, studies should be done on planning and design according to regional differentiation characteristics on the basis of ecosystem stability and landscape ecology. For managing protective forests, studies should include the decline mechanism, the near-natural management and the assessment of protective forests. Benefit assessment of protective forests will be conducted at a large scale with remote sensing technology.

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