Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 429–441 | Cite as

China’s Primary Programs of Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration: Initiation, Implementation, and Challenges

  • Runsheng YinEmail author
  • Guiping Yin


China has undertaken several major programs of terrestrial ecosystem restoration (ERPs) in recent years, including the Natural Forest Protection Program (NFPP) and the Sloping Land Conversion Program (SLCP). There have been reports on the implementation of these programs, their preliminary impacts, and the problems encountered in carrying them out; a great deal has been learned from these studies. Nonetheless, China’s ERPs are not limited to the NFPP and the SLCP. Because a complete documentation and a timely update of these major efforts are still missing from the literature, it is difficult to gauge the scope of these programs and the scale of their impacts. In addition, a more thorough and critical analysis of both the general ERP policy and the specific technical measures used in implementing the ERPs remains urgently needed. The purpose of this article is to tackle these tasks. Overall, with the huge government investments in the ERPs, tremendous progress has been made in implementing them. To complete them successfully and to fundamentally improve the targeted ecosystems, however, it is essential for China to have a more balanced and comprehensive approach to ecological restoration. This approach must include: adopting better planning and management practices; strengthening the governance of program implementation; emphasizing the active engagement of local people; establishing an independent, competent monitoring network; and conducting adequate assessments of program effectiveness and impact.


Land conversion Forest protection Soil erosion Desertification Program effectiveness and impact Policy improvement 



This study was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Project 0624018). The authors are grateful for the comments and suggestions made by the participants of the International Symposium on Evaluating China’s Ecological Restoration Programs held on October 19, 2007, in Beijing. They also appreciate the assistance of Lanying Li, Erin Shi, and Victoria Hoelzer-Maddox. They also appreciate the reviewers and editors for their comments and suggestions in improving the manuscript.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ForestryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Ecosystem Policy Institute of ChinaBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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