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The Loess Plateau: Finding a Place for Forests

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The Loess Plateau is the major contributor to the silt load in the Yellow River because of high erosion rates resulting from a combination of generally low vegetation cover, erodible soils, a long history of inappropriate land use, and increasing population pressure. Forests are not a dominant land cover within the plateau ecosystem. Collectively, the four major plateau provinces represent only 7.2% of the total area of forest in China. In addition to the self-renewal of degraded land by limiting further disturbances, an important measure for arresting erosion and improving environmental conditions is the restoration of vegetation cover through extensive afforestation programs. This article reviews different forest systems and sivilculture practices within the region and proposes adopting ecologically based management practices for restoring the plateau.

Keywords: China; Loess Plateau; afforestation; plantation; soil erosion; terracing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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