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In the wriggling ridges in the southwest of Harqin Banner, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, there is a place with a picturesque scenery and immense forest, Wangyedian Experimental Forest Farm of Harqin Banner, which is a new type of state-owned forest farm that boasts beautiful ecological environment, continuous forest management and affluence and harmony. In the sixty years since its establishment, the forest farm vigorously planted trees and closed forests for afforestation, thereby the forest area has been continuously increasing and the forest cover rate has been increased from 26.3% at the initial stage of the establishment to the present 92.1%. The focus of work in the forestry farm has also gradually shifted from the afforestation of the barren hills to the sustainable management of forests.

In August 2011, Wangyedian Forest Farm undertook the only one multi-functional forestry demonstration project implemented at home which is among other projects funded by Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet). In combination with the implementation of the project, the forest farm proposed the management concept of “promoting the close-to-nature transformation of plantations, realizing the high values of natural forests and industrializing forest by-products to cultivate multi-functional forests and achieve sustainable forest management”. In the past five years, the multi-functional forestry construction in the forest farms has achieved fruitful results and five major bright spots have been shown in the forest close-to- nature management. By the end of 2016, the forest farmland area was 25,307 hectares, and the total stock volume of standing timber in the Farm was 1,527,000 cubic meters, with an annual growth of 38,000 cubic meters. It has not only accumulated rich experience for close-to-nature management of the state-owned forest farms, but also has provided good examples and demonstrations for multifunctional forest management in northern China and even in the Asia Pacific region, which is worth studying and promoting. (Wangyedian Experimental Forest Farm)

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With the introduced close-to-nature management philosophy and technology, the artificial mixed experimental forest, can create microclimate conditions and promote the natural regeneration of fine tree species either by dispersing the forest gap with the high-intensity thinning of the stands, or by planting the suitable precious timber species under the canopy, to promote the transformation from the single-storied stand into the uneven-aged stratified mixed stand with multiple species and multiple layers. When adjusting the stand structure, full consideration is given to the growth of the upper forest and the natural regeneration capacity of the tree species or the surrounding forest tree species to create the optimal stand conditions and maximize the natural regeneration ability of the tree species. For the stand with poor natural regeneration ability that does not have natural regeneration source of seedlings in the surrounding areas, replanting of precious timber species under canopy is carried out to promote the stand to grow up to a multi-layer forest as soon as possible.

After nearly 30 years of technological transformation, the experimental area has formed a high quality and high efficient patchy artificial mixed forest consisting of multiple tree species. Forest biodiversity and landscape diversity have been increased, and the stability of the forest further strengthened. The forest is rich in tree species, well-structured and beautifully landscaped with good forest recreation effect. (Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry)

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In 1997, the Pinus massoniana monoculture forest was planted, with a density of 2,505 plants / ha , on which the tending management was carried out for three consecutive years after afforestation. In the 7th year, the released thinning was carried out, with the number of the thinned trees accounting for 20% -30%; in the 11th year, the first intermediate cutting was carried out, with the number of the cut trees ranging from 30% to 40%; in the 16th year, the second intermediate cutting was carried out, through which the interference trees were removed and proper thinning was conducted for the selected 90-120 target trees per ha, so as to retain the density of 450~525 plants / ha. At the same time, 120 forest gaps with a diameter of 6m were cut out and reserved for planting trees per acre were cut out for planting Castanopsis hystrix. In 2014, clumps of Castanopsis hystrix were planted in the gap, with a density of 120 clumps / ha. The 2-year-old container seedlings were selected. Block tending was carried out for 2 to 3 years after clump planting of Castanopsis hystrix, and Massoniana Pinus was tended individually, with timely removal of its interference trees. In the 15th year or so, one target tree was selected from each Castanopsis hystrix cluster, and its interference trees were removed every 5 years. When Massoniana Pinus reaches the target DBH, it would be selectively cut for use, and the target tree of Castanopsis hystrix will be tended individually afterwards.

The close-to-nature transformation by replanting the rare broad-leaved tree species of Castanopsis hystrix in clumps in the gaps between Massoniana Pinus plantations is beneficial to the formation of excellent stem form of Castanopsis hystrix and has wide applicability for Guangxi state-owned forest farms and forest farmers. (Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry)

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Michelia macclurei is an evergreen tree species of the genus Michelia x alba, in the family Magnoliaceae. It has natural distribution in Guangxi, which is an excellent timber tree species in the south subtropical region of China. With the tall stem, dense crown, beautiful form, luxuriant foliage, white flowers, rich fragrance, and bright red fruits, the plant boasts high ornamental value and is an excellent tree species in urban area. Its heartwood is light yellow, shiny, fine-structured, easy to dry, and corrosion resistant, thus the timber is suitable for interior decoration, furniture, vehicles and other purposes, and it is also the excellent materials for making plywood.

The scientific and technical personnel of Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry in Guangxi took the management mode of selective cutting of target tree and the tending measures for promoting natural regeneration, to cultivate the precious large diameter timber, thus gradually form the multi-functional plantation with rich levels and stable structure. With several times of continuous tending and thinning, and targeted cultivation of the large diameter timber trees, the stand environment has been significantly improved, and the growth of forest trees gradually improved, thus the multi-functional plantation with rich levels and stable structure has gradually taken shape. (Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry)

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Aiming at the problems such as the increase of soil and water loss, the decrease of species diversity and the difficulty of natural recovery in remnant forest of the karst mountains in Guangxi, the scientific and technical personnel of Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry in Guangxi adopted the ecological restoration technology combining enclosure and artificial replanting to promote the succession to the zonal climax community.

In the early stages, first, Zenia insignis, Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, Leucaena leucocephala, and other pioneer nitrogen-fixing tree species suitable to grow in karst mountains were selected as the driving force to restore succession. Then artificial replanting was conducted in the natural secondary forests using the afforestation technique of combining guest soil and container seedlings to promote natural succession artificially. When the canopy density reached 0.6 or so, Deutzianthus tonkienensis, Ashoka, Delavaya toxocarpa, Gleditsia sinensis Lam and other tree species that are shade tolerant in the midcourse of succession were selected for the second time replanting, to accelerate the recovery rate of natural succession of karst mountains, thereby gradually formed the multi-species uneven aged compound storied forest.

After 30 years of ecological restoration, the degenerated remnant forest community has been transformed into a close-to-nature forest community that is complex in structure, distinct in stratification, rich in species, healthy and stable. The stand has formed five relatively stable hierarchies. (Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry)

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