Environmental Management

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 58–69 | Cite as

From State-controlled to Polycentric Governance in Forest Landscape Restoration: The Case of the Ecological Forest Purchase Program in Yong’an Municipality of China

  • Hexing Long
  • Jinlong LiuEmail author
  • Chengyue Tu
  • Yimin Fu


Forest landscape restoration is emerging as an effective approach to restore degraded forests for the provision of ecosystem services and to minimize trade-offs between conservation and rural livelihoods. Policy and institutional innovations in China illustrate the governance transformation of forest landscape restoration from state-controlled to polycentric governance. Based on a case study of the Ecological Forest Purchase Program in Yong’an municipality, China’s Fujian Province, this paper explores how such forest governance transformation has evolved and how it has shaped the outcomes of forest landscape restoration in terms of multi-dimensionality and actor configurations. Our analysis indicates that accommodating the participation of multiple actors and market-based instruments facilitate a smoother transition from state-centered to polycentric governance in forest landscape restoration. Governance transitions for forest landscape restoration must overcome a number of challenges including ensurance of a formal participation forum, fair participation, and a sustainable legislative and financial system to enhance long-term effectiveness.


Forest landscape restoration Multiple stakeholders Forest governance Ecosystem services 



The authors would like to thank James Reed (Centre for International Forestry Research) and Mirjam Ros-Tonen (University of Amsterdam) for editorial support. This research was supported by the projects of “Development intervention, natural resources management, and rural transformation from the perspective of actor-oriented approaches” funded by Renmin University of China, and the project of “Study on local forest governance transformation from a decentralization perspective” funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hexing Long
    • 1
  • Jinlong Liu
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chengyue Tu
    • 2
  • Yimin Fu
    • 2
  1. 1.National Academy of Development and StrategyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Agricultural Economics and Rural DevelopmentRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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