Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Forestry in China

Jack Westoby

Jack Westoby, British forestry economist, was deputy to the head of the FAO Forestry Department at the time of his retirement as an international civil servant in January 1974. In 1973 Mr. Westoby participated in the discussions which led to China resuming active membership in FAO. Over the years he has written and lectured extensively on forestry development.

What is the structure of forestry in China? How does China's outlook differ from that of other countries and from traditional approaches? What kind of success and failure has Chinese forestry experienced? How have political and administrative reforms affected forestry? How is the classic land competition between agriculture and forestry dealt with in China? How does China instil forestry consciousness in its people? These are among the questions which the author attempts to answer. He made an extensive tour of forestry in China in 1974.

It is always difficult to truly understand how a society other than one's own works. A study of the constitution, if there happens to be a written one, does not tell very much. Nor does a chart setting out structural relations, powers and responsibilities. Several important things are always missing. One is how the existing situation evolved from what went on before. Another is modification, sometimes subtle, already under way. More important, no chart explains the differences between what is supposed to happen and what actually happens.

It is the same with forest laws and regulations. Some countries have comprehensive forest laws and regulations. Reading them, one is convinced that these can serve as a model. Yet, when one comes to examine how they work out in practice, one finds that they are so much useless paper. The reasons are many. Often it is a matter of staff: too few staff, undertrained staff, staff so badly underpaid that a livelihood is only possible if bribes are accepted and a blind eye turned to misdemeanours. Sometimes it is the machinery of the law: an overworked judicial system, or courts and tribunals susceptible to political pressures or capable of being suborned. Sometimes the forest law is frustrated by the general uncertainty about land titles.

Yet there are other countries where the forest law - if a special law exists - only makes sense after one has digested 10 or 20 distantly related acts on the statute book. And the regulations which have been issued may be a mishmash of important matters and seeming irrelevancies. Yet the system works.

In China, forestry activities are still governed by the basic regulations for the protection of forests promulgated by the State Council on 27 May 1963. These regulations, comprising seven chapters and 43 articles, have been amended since then only to take account of certain organizational changes which have occurred; there has been no amendment of substance. Thus, references to the "people's councils" of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and to the "management committees" of people's communes, are replaced by references to the "revolutionary committees" at these several levels. Similarly, the reference to the Ministry of Forests has been replaced by reference to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, within which the Ministry of Forests has now been absorbed.

These regulations cover state forests, collectively owned forests, and trees belonging to individual householders. They tell everybody what to do - sometimes in a very general way, sometimes very precisely. For example, Article 3 lays down that:

"Revolutionary committees at the various levels must strengthen propaganda and education in order to promote forest consciousness and forest education, and mobilize the masses to properly protect forests and trees."

RAFTING TIMBER IN HUNAN PROVINCE A forest consciousness which is comparable to that of Scandinavia

Article 17 relates to grazing in the forest, and says that:

"Livestock grazing near the forests must be strictly supervised to avoid damage to trees. In the forest zones where conditions permit, limited areas may be designated for grazing."

These are fairly general prescriptions, and how far they are carried out, and the way in which they are carried out, will depend largely on the energy and initiative of the particular revolutionary committee concerned. They leave considerable room for local interpretation.

Administration changed

By contrast, a sub-clause of Article 12, which deals with felling and transport, provides that any collective unit which fells more than 10 cubic metres of timber in any one year from its own forests to meet its own needs (including the needs of individual members of the unit) must have the authorization of the district revolutionary committee.

But although the basic regulations for forestry in China remain the same today as they were in 1963, the administrative structure through which they are applied has been transformed. This transformation is qualitative rather than formal, for although the political/administrative structure remains more or less intact, the way in which it operates has undergone a number of changes. These can perhaps best be summarized as a far-reaching devolution of responsibilities, coupled with a complete renewal of organs of management.

Increased autonomy

The main political units in China remain the 21 provinces, the five autonomous regions, which rank as provinces, and the three autonomous cities (Peking, Shanghai and Tsientsin), which with their surrounding rural areas also have the status of provinces. The degree of autonomy of these main political units seems to have increased, if anything, since the cultural revolution.

The provinces are divided into administrative districts and large cities. The administrative districts are divided into counties, which in turn comprise smaller towns and people's communes. Occasionally there is an intermediate level, the county being divided into districts, each of which groups a number of people's communes. Each people's commune consists of a number of production brigades, and each production brigade of a number of production teams - these last being the basic accounting unit in the people's communes. In the case of some of the larger communes, with many production brigades, these brigades may be grouped into management districts, which thus constitute an intermediate link in the system.

On the urban side, the cities are divided into urban districts, and these in turn into neighbourhoods, which correspond roughly to brigades in the communes. Under the neighbourhoods are street committees, corresponding to teams. Factories, depending on their size, may come under the leadership of the provinces, districts or counties; within the commune, they may constitute a production brigade or team. Some small collective units (for example, a housewives' group running a workshop) fall under the leadership of the neighbourhoods or even street committees.

Spreading responsibility

All this remains substantially as it was, save that all down the line there has been a devolution of responsibility. Thus, many large industrial enterprises, formerly directly under the supervision of the appropriate ministry of the central government, are now the responsibility of the provinces, and so on. Broadly speaking, one can say that the responsibilities at the lower levels have increased and their scope for initiative enhanced. This transfer of responsibilities downward has been accompanied by a severe thinning of the administrative ranks at the higher levels, notably in the central ministries, and a corresponding reinforcement of the ranks at the lower levels-where the action is. As we shall see later, this has been accompanied by the transfer to the provinces of many of the central research institutes and higher education institutes.

Parallel with this, in the course of the cultural revolution new organs of management arose at every level, in the shape of revolutionary committees, composed of cadres, representatives of the masses, and members of the People's Liberation Army or local militia. These are now the organs of political power at every level, and in the course of their consolidation efforts have been made to ensure that they fully respond to the two "three-in-one" criteria so often referred to in China: cadres, technicians and masses; old, middle-aged and young.

At each level, the revolutionary committee appoints a standing committee. This is the executive organ of government. Thus, the provincial standing committee receives its mandate from, and reports to, the provincial revolutionary committee. In conducting the work of government, the standing committee is assisted by bureaux established to carry on the administration. These will include bureaux concerned with planning, education, health, trade and so on - and normally one such bureau is the agricultural and forestry bureau. Each of these bureaux maintains contact with, and gives leadership to, its counterparts in the departmental organizations at the nest lower level

FOREST WORKERS TN HEILUNGKIANG PROVINCE, CHINA'S MAIN WOOD SOURCE Allowable cut should rise to the end of the century

"Leadership" and "control"

As a semantic indication of the kind of devolution of responsibilities and of the de-bureaucratization which has occurred since the cultural revolution, lower level organs are now invariably described as being "under the leadership of" - and never "under the control of" - the immediately higher organs.

This, then, in broad outline, is the administrative structure in China today.¹ There are many local variants.

¹ For a succint account of political structure see Joan Robinson, Economic management China 1972, London, Anglo-Chinese Educational Institute, 1973.

At the national level, forestry affairs are dealt with in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and are conducted under the leadership of one of the seven Vice-Ministers. At the time of writing, this is Liang Chang-Wu, who headed the Chinese delegation to the Seventh World Forestry Congress in 1972. The work is organized in five divisions, namely:

- Timber production

- Forest industry and forest products

- Forest resources and forest management, including forest protection and wildlife management

- Afforestation

- Supply and distribution of wood.

The central forest authority no longer has responsibility for the central research institutes, since these have been relocated and are now responsible to the provinces. Similarly, the Academy of Forest Science, formerly dependent on the Ministry of Forests, has been moved to Harbin and is under the leadership of the revolutionary committee of the province of Heilungkiang, the province which contains the richest of China's forest resources.

The external relations of the central forest authority are conducted through the Bureau of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.

The forest service

It follows that it is no longer possible to speak of a state forest service in the generally accepted sense, i.e., of an independent forest service with a hierarchical chain of command running down through forest regions and forest conservancies. Instead, agriculture and forestry are integrated at all levels, from the Ministry down, usually in the agricultural and forestry bureaux of the provinces, administrative districts, counties, etc. These bureaux are under the political control of the revolutionary committees at the respective levels, and the bureaux at the several levels deal with agricultural and forestry matters alike, along with the interrelations between agriculture and forestry. Naturally, the forestry members of these bureaux have very frequent contacts with their forestry counterparts at the immediately higher and lower levels.

These bureaux, at the appropriate levels, have direct responsibility for the state-owned sector - state forests, state-owned forest industry enterprises, research institutes. Not, however, for forestry education institutions, which ultimately depend, through the education departments or bureaux, on the Ministry of Education. The other important function of the bureaux is to give guidance and technical advice to the collectively owned sector - in essence, the communes, production brigades and teams - as well as to other organs and institutions conducting forestry activities; these include railways, mines, factories, and so on.

What are these services which the forestry bureaux (and the state-owned enterprises for which they have responsibility) provide to the collectively owned sector? I discovered, in the areas I visited, that they go far beyond professional advice and technical assistance. Moreover, they go far beyond what is normally encompassed by a forestry extension service. Most important, I believe, are the education and training activities. These take many forms: short training courses, one-day or one-week technical consultations for cadres, technicians or model workers, arranged at provincial, county or district level; the promotion of exchange visits; on-the job training in sawmills, timber yards, forest farms and research institutes; preparation of information sheets and instructional pamphlets; and so forth. Some of this is carried out in conjunction with the provincial forestry colleges. In addition, each state enterprise has a demonstration function. Next in importance, I suppose, comes the on-the-spot advice offered to the communes, brigades and teams by the staff of the forestry bureaux, state forest farms and research institutes. These staff now constantly visit, and for sustained periods work alongside members of, the communes. Any new problem cropping up, therefore, is promptly spotted, and measures to cope with it put in hand.

They give advice on management, and in some cases actually provide management services until the collective has acquired its own nucleus of trained and experienced people. They act as animators, persuading the communes to undertake various kinds of forestry activities, providing the know-how and even lending executive staff to get things moving. They supply seed and planting stock. They organize experiments and trials. The relationship between the state and collectively owned sectors in forestry-at least in the areas I visited-is a living and fecund one.

Starting from scratch

Has it always been that way? Apparently not. An example was given by Liu Ping, chairman of the revolutionary committee of the Dune Fixation and Shelter Belt Experimental Station at Chang Ku Tai, close to the border with Inner Mongolia in northern Liaoning.

"We came here in 1952, starting from scratch, knowing nothing," he told me. "After many initial mistakes, we got the dunes fixed and the march of the desert halted. As you see, we already have natural regeneration under some of our early plantings. We built shelterbelts, reclaimed land for the plough, and saw our crop yields go steadily up. We were pretty pleased with what we had managed to achieve on our 200 or so hectares. But during the cultural revolution, we came up sharply against some basic questions: What is all this in aid of? Whom are we supposed to serve? We decided we had spent far too much time and effort on our own show, and far too little on helping the communes round here to benefit from our experience. So we changed course. Mind you, we try not to let our programme here fall behind. But we spend much more time out with the production teams, helping them to fix dunes and set up shelterbelts. As a matter of fact, we learn a lot faster ourselves that way too.

"The same applies to cultivation of fruit trees," he went on. "Everybody told us fruit trees would never grow up here. But we've made 80 varieties of apples, pears and grapes grow. We used to show them off proudly to anyone who would come and look. But since the cultural revolution, we have been training technicians from the production teams in how to get fruit orchards going and keep them running, and we ourselves leave the station and work with them to help them set up fruit orchards."

China's administrative structure

Where to put forestry

Liu Ping's story was one of many I heard in a similar vein. Whatever may have been the situation of the state forestry sector before the cultural revolution there is no doubt that today it is the very antithesis of a bunch of. Desk-bound bureaucrats and ivory tower researchers.

There has long been general debate among foresters of the world as to the desirability of including forestry among the responsibilities of agricultural ministries. The consensus has been that, whether included within the agricultural ministry or not, there is need for a separately organized state forest service with a high measure of autonomy. The arguments rest partly on technical considerations: forestry is, generally speaking, a long-range activity, and its successful conduct requires not only a specialized staff, but also sustained financial support; i.e., not subordinate to oscillations in forest revenue or the financial vicissitudes of the central exchequer. But there are political reasons as well. Most agricultural ministries deal with a wide variety of subject matter, and issues arise daily which are urgent and pressing. Moreover, they all operate in an area which is politically sensitive. Where there is competition between agriculture and forestry for resources - be it land or finance - and where forestry is handled in a department or section of the agricultural ministry, that department tends to be a Cinderella department. As the foresters lament bitterly: "Trees have no vote."

This is especially true of many developing countries, where a high proportion of the working population is employed in agriculture, and where the prevailing agrarian structure often gives rise to acute social tensions. This has usually meant that the forestry sector has been grossly neglected, and its potential contribution to the agricultural sector itself overlooked. If governments and politicians choose to ignore, or pay only lip-service to, the multiple role of the forest and its development potential, then forest consciousness is not likely to spread among the people. This is why many foresters have argued for the establishment of a separate ministry of forests in those developing countries where the forest resource is sufficiently rich to enable it to play a significant role in overall economic development.

Does this mean that the abolition of the separate ministry for forests in China represents a step backward? No, because the situation in China is quite unlike that in other developing countries.

Firstly, there now exists in China a degree of forest consciousness that is unequalled anywhere else in the world, save possibly in parts of Canada and some of the nordic countries. The fact that forestry affairs have for long been conducted by a department which enjoyed the status of a separate ministry has probably helped to create this. But the main underlying reason for this is the importance attached to forestry by the Chinese Communist Party, and the periodic and vivid dicta of Chairman Mao concerning forestry. These have succeeded in creating a widespread awareness of the significance of forestry. Secondly, although most of the presently productive forests are in the state sector, much of the newly created forest, and forests yet to be created, have been and will be established in and by the people's communes, while - new plantings in the state sector will be heavily dependent on labour furnished by the people's communes. Thirdly, few countries have such dire need of protective afforestation as has China, and the establishment of shelterbelts, windbreaks and watershed protection forests must be closely integrated with agriculture - must, in fact, be part and parcel of agricultural planning.

An upsurge of activity

There is no reason to suppose, therefore, that the abolition of the separate ministry of forests has led to, or will lead to, any neglect of forestry. On the contrary, there is every evidence that, taken along with all the other consequences of the cultural revolution (the devolution of authority, the relocation of research institutes, staff transfers to lower levels, the requirement that all cadres shall spend at least a fourth of their time at the production front, the contribution of the middle school students, and so on), there has been a considerable upsurge in forestry activity since the cultural revolution. This is what is claimed, and so far as afforestation is concerned the age composition of the plantations which I saw in various parts of China fully bear out this claim.

Thus the integration of agriculture and forestry, which has taken place at all levels in China, has had a positive impact on both agriculture and forestry. This integration has been a conscious process. "We believe we have resolved the age-old conflict between agriculture and forestry." This statement was first made to me in Heilungkiang, where forestry is the dominant activity. But it was echoed in Hunan, where the agricultural sector predominates. The very fact that it was made repeatedly indicates an awareness that in the past the two sectors were seen as conflicting, representing competing claims on land and resources.

Without doubt, China's most spectacular achievements since liberation have been in the area of water conservation - taming the rivers. No visitor to China in recent years has failed to be impressed by the sheer magnitude of the work accomplished. Although much still remains to be done, great strides have already been made toward removing the threat of flood, diminishing the impact of drought, enlarging the irrigated area and mobilizing hydroelectric power. Several of the major schemes have been centrally conceived, and implemented by the provinces concerned. But these major schemes are complemented by hundreds and thousands of smaller schemes, initiated and carried out at lower levels. What is truly staggering is the amount of human effort that has gone into this work. To give but one example, the repair and reinforcement of the dikes along the lower reaches of the Yellow river alone involved 350 million cubic metres of earthwork and more than 9 million cubic metres of stonework. This was carried out with virtually no earth-moving machinery, by sheer muscle power, making use of shoulder poles, hand tools, and primitive, locally devised lifting devices. The taming of China's rivers has required, and will continue to require for some time yet, literally hundreds of millions of man-days, and the main bulk of this effort has been furnished, and will in future be furnished, by members of the people's communes. It is doubtful, to say the least of it, that this effort would have been forthcoming had not commune members been persuaded that it would in due time contribute to their collective and individual well-being. It is equally doubtful whether the effort would have been sustained had not the works accomplished started to give palpable results, in the shape of increased yields, fewer harvest failures, etc.

WHEAT FIELDS SHELTERED BY TUNG TREES (Aleurites cordata) The accent is on protection forestry

Watershed afforestation

The example of the lower reaches of the Yellow river could be supplemented by countless others. But it is less well known that, from the very start (and beginnings were made in the liberated areas even before 1949), similar attention was paid to regulating water flow and countering soil erosion in the upper catchments, through afforestation. Here, too, the effort was on a gigantic scale, and the claims advanced through frequent news releases in the early days as to areas afforested and number of trees planted, both on the watersheds and in dike consolidation, were of such a magnitude as to strain the credibility of most people in the west - including mine.

Travelling through China today, and talking with forest officers at various levels, it becomes obvious that these claims were not exaggerated. Undoubtedly, however, much of this work was misdirected and of low quality, so that in many cases survival rates were very low indeed.

Chinese foresters are very frank about these mistakes. In many instances, they point out, afforestation campaigns were not preceded by surveys of soil quality and appraisals of climatic conditions, so that wrong species were frequently selected. This led to low survival rates, and poor growth among the survivors. There was little emphasis on seed selection in the early days. Planting techniques left much to be desired there had been inadequate tests and trials. Because China had had but little experience of man-made forests of, for example, pure pine species, when these plantations were invaded by pests, as happened in south China, prompt countermeasures were not taken. But the principal culprit seems to have been inadequate tending: neglect of weeding and hoeing, and failure to carry out thinning in due time. Certainly, in discussing these problems with workers and technicians of commune production teams and forest farms, this seemed to have been the lesson which had been most thoroughly learned. Time and time again I was told that after-care was twice as important as planting techniques in assuring success.

Successes and failures

It would, however, be a great mistake to write off altogether the efforts of the 1950s and early 1960s. True, there were many failures, and even more cases of incomplete success. But this is not the whole picture. There are many success stories too, and I saw a number of healthy, fully stocked plantations that had been created in that period. It is not possible, on the basis of my limited observations, to quantify the success ratio, but by and large the best plantations that I saw that had been established during that period tended to be in areas which already had a forestry tradition.

Looking back, it is evident that the volume of forestry expertise and experience available in China was insufficient to give technical underpinning to an afforestation programme of unprecedented magnitude. Moreover, a large proportion of this expertise and experience was concentrated in the forested regions, charged with the task of reestablishing and expanding the timber supplies needed to sustain China's development programme. The remaining technical forces were therefore inevitably thinly spread, and not always available where needed. Much, not surprisingly, was located in centralized institutions and at provincial and county offices.

Yew forests, of course, are created by people, not by professional foresters, just as new towns are built by construction workers, not by architects. The job of the professional forester or forestry technician is to provide guidance to the men and women carrying out the work. He draws on the accumulated experience he has digested and makes use of the technologies he has mastered in order to help the people on the spot to resolve any unforeseen problems that may arise. The masses that created the new forests in China in the 1950s and 1960s not only lacked experience, but they were facing a host of technical problems not previously encountered. And they were grievously lacking in the kind of guidance that would have enabled them to shorten their learning experience and rectify errors quickly. The wonder is, not that there were so many failures, but that there were so many successes.

Measures taken during the last 15 years, and notably since the cultural revolution, have radically altered the situation. The most important of these are: the steady build-up of the corps of trained foresters and technicians; the designation, in each production team, of commune members with special responsibility for forestry affairs within the collective, and their training through thousands of short courses; the creation of a widespread forest consciousness, largely through the schools; the decentralization of research and training institutions, and the radiation of technical staff to the production front; and the stipulation that all cadres and technicians shall spend a significant proportion of their time in actual production.

Survival rates

These are the basic reasons why new plantings carried out during the last seven or eight years (and new planting still proceeds on a colossal scale) show good survival rates. Time after time, I passed hillsides where single stems or clusters of trees of 5-10 metros - the survivals of earlier plantings - stood out from a 100% cover of young trees established within the last five years. Similarly, during my long road and rail journeys, I saw that many gaps in early line plantings had been made good. I cannot of my own knowledge say that this is true over the whole of China. But I do know that it is true over much of Heilungkiang, Liaoning and Hun an along the communication routes connecting these provinces, and in the agricultural communes around Harbin, Peking and Kwangchow.

Thus the integration of agricultural and forestry responsibilities at the successive levels, from the Ministry downward, has led to vigorous and widespread forestry activity, mostly sponsored by the people's communes, and this activity has been given a tremendous fillip by the changes which have come about as a consequence of the cultural revolution. Much - tin fact, probably most - of this activity has been in protective afforestation: dune fixation, shelterbelts, catchment afforestation and dike consolidation. But a good deal of effort has also been devoted to amenity planting - along major and minor roads, in and around the communes, around factories and workshops, in city streets and parks, and in restored and newly created recreation areas close to the cities.

Production forestry

This does not mean that productive afforestation, planting designed primarily to provide industrial timber, has been neglected. Nearly every commune that I passed through had devoted some areas to timber production, over and above the ubiquitous road, field and stream line-planting. Sometimes this was designed to provide fuelwood, but more often it was aimed at the production of construction and transmission poles and, eventually, of saw timber. Poles still play a big role in the construction of both dwellings and nonresidential buildings in the countryside, and most communes, adhering to the doctrine of self-reliance, are seeking to make themselves independent of outside supplies of suitable timber. Heavier industrial timber still comes for the most part from the traditional timber "export" zones, notably northeast China, but considerable efforts are now afoot to create new bases for sizable forest industry complexes, as, for example, the Chinese fir campaign in Hunan. As and when adequate local timber supplies become available, the communes themselves establish processing plants: sawmills, joinery shops, furniture factories and so on. The major forest industry enterprises above the commune level on the mechanical woodworking side come under the aegis of the appropriate agricultural and forestry bureau. This may be depending on the size and importance of the enterprise, at the district, county or provincial level.

On a world scale, forestry is moving steadily toward greater emphasis on manmade forests, artificial plantations of native and exotic species with a much shorter maturing cycle than obtains in natural forests. China is no exception. Even so, much of forestry is still a long-term business, and long-term planning is therefore essential.

Each provincial authority has been asked to prepare proposals for the progressive development of forestry activities over a 12-year period. The provincial authorities are presently consulting their constituent counties and districts, and through them, the communes, preliminary to drawing up provincial proposals. Once this stage has been completed, the provincial proposals will be discussed centrally, modified, adjusted and integrated to provide the basis for China's first national perspective plan for the forestry sector. One must assume that the necessary consultations with the ministries and organs responsible for important aspects of forest industries will take place throughout.

TIMBER MOVING THROUGH KIAMUSZU STATION, HARBIN PROVINCE The need for big reserves of industrial timber is now being stressed

Supporting agriculture

The preparation of this perspective plan does not mean that hitherto forestry activity has proceeded without any long-term objectives. The 12-year programme for the development of agriculture (1956-68) was built around the slogan: "Take food grain as the key link, and ensure an all-round development of animal husbandry and forestry." It has meant, however, that outside the timber "export" areas, the main orientation of the massive forestry effort in the countryside has been in the direction of protective afforestation to support agriculture, and productive afforestation to reduce dependence on "imports" of timber from other areas. It is only within the last few years that the importance of creating substantial new reserves of industrial timber to meet national needs has been emphasized. The Chinese fir afforestation campaign in Hunan is a case in point, although a major justification for the campaign lay in the fact that the rural economy faced strict limits to the amount of land that could be tilled, so that prospects for a continuing rise in welfare dictated diversification and putting to some use all land that could not be put under the plough.

In the foregoing pages I have contented myself with trying to give a "feel" of what is happening on the forestry front in China today. Space exigencies preclude a detailed description of what I saw in the various parts of China I visited. But unasylva readers may be interested in my main impression, which can be summarized as follows:

1. China is well on the way to becoming the most forest-conscious nation in the world. The principal reasons for this are: the importance accorded forestry in development policy; the appreciation of the multiple role of the forest built up in the schools; the mass involvement of millions of peasants in both productive and protective afforestation.

2. Agriculture and forestry are more effectively integrated than in any other country I have visited.

3. The gigantic afforestation campaign continues unabated - indeed, has intensified in recent years. There were many errors in the early days, but most of these have now been made good.

4. In Heilungkiang, China's timber source, a rapidly expanding network of all-weather roads is steadily bringing previously inaccessible forest into production. Narrow-gauge railways are being torn up and replaced by permanent roads. The emphasis is now on silviculture and management, and on the establishment of permanent management/logging centres (forest farms). Allowable cut should steadily rise to the end of the century.

5. In that part of the "great green wall" which I visited - the Liaoning border with Inner Mongolia - the desert has been successfully halted, land reclaimed for agriculture, overgrazing eliminated, and crop yields inside the new dense network of shelterbelts have risen sharply. Although growth rates are of course low, the earliest new forests are showing ample natural regeneration.

6. Hunan province is halfway along in its campaign to establish a million hectares of Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) on its bare hills. Take is high, and growth rates good.

7. While the accent is on protection forestry (dune fixation, shelterbelts, dike consolidation and watershed afforestation) and production forestry, recreation and amenity forestry are by no means neglected. China could learn much from the west about the management of recreation forests, but could teach much about urban forestry, which is particularly well advanced.

8. In some cities, air and water pollution has been dramatically reduced. But there are some which still have a long way to go.

9. Statistics at the local level are readily given, and mostly verifiable. Overall national statistics for the forestry sector are not yet being released.

10. The two dominant themes in Chinese society today are "self-reliance" and "serve the people." These are not mere slogans. They profoundly influence the way in which people live, work and behave to each other and to strangers.

11. China has much to learn from other countries, and the Chinese know this. But any foreign equipment or research finding will be scrutinized carefully before it is introduced or applied to ensure that it is appropriate to Chinese conditions.

BAMBOO HOUSES IN THE TAR AUTONOMOUS AREA OF YUNNAN PROVINCE The themes most repeated are "self-reliance" and "serve the people"

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page