Multifunctional Forestry and Forest Management: Eco-hydrological Considerations

  • Yanhui Wang
  • Pengtao Yu
  • Wei Xiong
  • Ying Tian
  • Zhijia Yu
  • Yongqiang Hu
  • Lihong Xu
  • Haijun Zuo
  • Kai Schwärzel


Increasing forest cover mainly for controlling severe soil erosion in dryland regions, such as the Loess Plateau in northwest China, can cause a drastic water yield reduction and threaten the water supply for regional development. Thus, multifunctional forestry is required, which pays special attention to balancing the hydrological impacts and other services of forests, through integrated forests–water–land management. In this way, certain water yield and stand stability against environmental stressors can be maintained, without reducing the dominant service of erosion control and other services provided by forests. This should be realised at different spatial scales, including consideration of rational forest cover and optimal spatial distribution of forests within basins, the site-matching species composition, and the optimal stand structure. The concrete approaches for meeting these requirements are summarised. For the multifunctional management of water-retention forests at stand scale, the indexes of ideal stand structure are set up, including a ground coverage of above 0.7 to control soil erosion, a canopy density of around 0.7 to maintain natural regeneration, and a ratio of tree height (m) to diameter at breast height (DBH, cm) of below 0.7 to minimise disasters by snow/storm. Then, five decision-making steps for multifunctional management of water-retention forests are suggested: (1) site quality investigation and classification; (2) site-specific determination of main functions and their priorities; (3) investigation of current stand structure characteristics; (4) diagnosis of structure/functions of current stand; and (5) arrangement of structure/function-oriented management measures. Finally, some examples of multifunctional forest management are illustrated.


Forest Cover Loess Plateau Leaf Area Index Annual Runoff Stand Structure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by “Spatial Scale Effect of Land Use Impact on Runoff in the Loess Plateau under Climate Change”, a Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41230852); “Study on Water Conservation Mechanism of Forest Ecosystem and the Scale Effect on China’s Loess Plateau”, a Major Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41390461); “Water Yield Response to Changes in Land-use and Climate in a Semi-humid/-arid Transition Region (Jinghe Basin, Northwest China)”, a Sino-German Joint Project Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) (Grant No. SCHW 1448-3/1); “Formation Mechanism and Scale Effect of Spatial Pattern of Soil Water in Upstream Jinghe River Based on Landscape Pattern Change”, a General Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41471029); “Study on Forest Management Techniques Based on Vegetation Carrying Capacity of Site Water Conditions”, a sub-project of the Ministry of Science and Technology during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (No. 2012BAD22B030102); Forest Ecological Station of the State Forestry Administration in Ningxia Liupan Mountains; “Study and Demonstration of Multifunctional Forestry in Different Regions of Ningxia” a project of the Comprehensive Research Centre for Ecological Restoration and Multifunctional Forestry in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanhui Wang
    • 1
  • Pengtao Yu
    • 1
  • Wei Xiong
    • 1
  • Ying Tian
    • 2
  • Zhijia Yu
    • 3
  • Yongqiang Hu
    • 4
  • Lihong Xu
    • 1
  • Haijun Zuo
    • 1
  • Kai Schwärzel
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  2. 2.Forestry Administration of Guyuan CityGuyuanChina
  3. 3.Guyuan Branch of Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry SciencesGuyuanChina
  4. 4.Forestry Administration of LiupanshanJinyuanChina
  5. 5.Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), United Nations UniversityDresdenGermany

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