Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 75–83 | Cite as

The relationship between forestland soil fertility and gathering firewood in the Zhuxi watershed in the red soil hilly region of China

  • Zhi-qiang Chen
  • Zhi-biao Chen
  • Hai-bin Chen
  • Hui Yue


Declining soil fertility has become an increasingly urgent problem and gathering firewood is one of the important contributing factors. Due to the excessive exploitation of natural resources especially for firewood, the red soil hilly region has become one of the most vulnerable eco-environment regions in China. The pressure of gathering firewood on forestland soil fertility in forestland has been generally estimated by geographical information system and questionnaire method in this paper in the Zhuxi watershed of Changting County, Fujian Province, China, a typical representative in the red soil hilly region of China. The results of this study show that: i) Forestland soil fertility is negatively affected by gathering firewood, which is more intensive in the integrated buffer zone than out of zone. The forestland soil fertility grade, OM, total N, available N, total P, available P, total K, available K, pH and <2 μm clay content are lower and bulk density is higher in the integrated buffer zone than those out. ii) The forestland soil fertility grade, OM, total N, available N, total P, available P, total K, available K, pH and <2 μm clay content tend to be lower and bulk density tends to be higher in the village buffer zones than those out in Datian, Chenguang and Youfang respectively. iii) The population density, economic development and terrain might be the key driving forces contributing to the relationship between gathering firewood and forestland soil fertility. Higher population density leads to more massive firewood collection and imposes more pressure on forestland soil fertility. Decreasing the use of firewood stove may reduce firewood consumption and thus release the pressure of gathering firewood on forestland soil fertility. Terrain affects the accessibility to gathering firewood thus affects forestland soil fertility. Other driving forces influencing the relationship between gathering firewood and forestland soil fertility should also be taken into account in the further study.


Gathering firewood Soil fertility Questionnaire method GIS Zhuxi watershed 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhi-qiang Chen
    • 1
  • Zhi-biao Chen
    • 1
  • Hai-bin Chen
    • 1
  • Hui Yue
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Geographical SciencesFujian Normal UniversityFuzhouChina
  2. 2.Soil and Water Conservation Bureau of Changting CountyChangtingFujian, China

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