Since the foundation of new China, the accumulative area of afforestation reached 247 million ha, including 217 million ha of artificial plantings, ranking the first in the world, and 30 million ha of aero seeding. Since the inclusion of mountain closure from 1981, the accumulative area of mountain closure for forest restoration was 120 million ha. The forest coverage has been increased from 8.6% at the beginning of the new china to 18.2%.
In order to adapt to the historical transition from timber production to ecological protection, the area structure among different forest types classified on usages has been significantly changed, from timber forest to protection forest as the main forest type. In 1990, the proportion of timber forest was 60.60%, and that of protection forest was 19.77%. In 2004, the proportions have been changed to 15.66% of timber forest and 75.22% of protection forest.
Looking at different regions, the western ecologically fragile region is the main region for ecological protection. Since 1998, the proportion of afforestation area in the 12 provinces (autonomous regions) (including Xinjiang Construction Production Corps) involved in the western development has always been kept above 50% of the total area of afforestation in the whole country.
Since the severe flood disaster in 1998, China’s forestry tended to develop rapidly, the 6 major forestry programs, namely the natural forest protection program, the land conversion from farmland back to forestland program, the program of sand source control in Beijing-Tianjin region, the program of shelterbelt forests in three-north region, Yangtze River basin and other regions, the wildlife protection and nature reserve development program, and the fast growing and high yielding timber plantation development program, have been successively incepted for implementation. Up to 2004, the 6 major forestry programs have completed afforestation with an accumulative area of 25.329 million ha, accounting for 59.94% of the total area of afforestation completed since 1998.