Landscape Ecology

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 1111–1127 | Cite as

Using a pattern metric-based analysis to examine the success of forest policy implementation in Southwest China

  • Jamon Van Den Hoek
  • Amy C. Burnicki
  • Mutlu Ozdogan
  • A-Xing Zhu
Research Article

Abstract

Context

The National Forest Protection Program (NFPP) and sloping land conversion program (SLCP) were introduced in 1998 and 2000, respectively, with the shared goal of increasing forest cover and decreasing forest loss across China. The NFPP banned commercial logging and funded tree planting efforts while the SLCP subsidized tree planting on steeply sloping and otherwise disused lands.

Objective

This study quantifies the patterns of forest loss and gain before and during policy implementation to gauge implementation effectiveness. By measuring patterns associated with spatially explicit processes linking land managers and forest resources, this study improves upon overly simplified assessments of implementation effectiveness that only consider the area of forest cover change.

Methods

The shifting patterns of short- and long-term forest cover change in Diqing Prefecture, southwest China, are measured between 1990 and 2009. Eleven pattern metrics quantify the area, topography, and landscape feature proximity of forest loss or gain patches based on Landsat imagery-derived forest cover changes.

Results

Trends generally conformed to those expected under successful policy implementation: the proportion and fragmentation of forest loss declined, loss patches were found closer to villages and at lower elevations, and forest gain increased in proportion and median patch area. However, median loss patch area increased, suggesting greater localized harvesting intensity, and loss sites occupied steeper slopes contrary to SLCP goals.

Conclusions

Forest cover change patterns did not wholly align with those expected of successful implementation but rather deviated due to the influences of regional tourism development and village- and household-level forest resource scarcity.

Keywords

Pattern analysis Forest policy NFPP SLCP Forest cover change Temporal resolution Yunnan China 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamon Van Den Hoek
    • 1
    • 4
  • Amy C. Burnicki
    • 2
  • Mutlu Ozdogan
    • 3
  • A-Xing Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.Department for Forest and Wildlife EcologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  4. 4.Biospheric Sciences LaboratoryNASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA

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