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Managing threats to the health of tree plantations in Asia

Dell, B., Xu, D. and Thu, P.Q. (2012) Managing threats to the health of tree plantations in Asia. In: Bandani, A.R., (ed.) New Perspectives in Plant Protection. InTech, pp. 63-92.

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Plantation forestry is making a significant positive contribution to the environment as well as to the livelihoods of millions of people in Asia. This chapter examines some of the major constraints facing commercial acacia and eucalypt plantations in South-east and East Asia and discusses adaptive actions in the face of climate change. Particular emphasis is placed on Vietnam and China but examples are also drawn from other parts of SE Asia where forest plantations are making a significant contribution to forest cover. The area of forest cover in Asia has declined greatly in the past 50 years due to an expanding population, and increasing demand for forest products and land for food and energy crops. For example, based on available documents, in 1943 Vietnam had 14.3 million ha of forests, with 43% forest cover; but by the year 1990 only 9.18 million ha remained, with a forest cover of 27.2%. During the period 1980 to 1990, the average forest lost was more than 100,000 ha each year. However, from 1990 to the present, the forest area has increased gradually, due to afforestation and rehabilitation of natural forest. Based on the official statement in Decision No. 1267/QD/BNN-KL-LN, dated 4 May 2009, as of 31 December 2009, the total national forest area was 13.2 million ha (forest cover of 39.1%), including 2.9 million ha of plantation forest. Recently, China too has also been able to reverse the decline in forest cover due to forest protection and afforestation. According to the 7th national forest resource inventory finished in 2008, there were 195.4 million ha (14.9 billion m3 of standing wood volume) of forest in China, an increase of 20.5 million ha (1.1 billion m3 standing wood volume) over the previous audit 5 years earlier. Of the increased forest area and volume, 3.9 million ha were from natural forests, and 8.4 million ha were from tree plantations.

In the region, logging of natural forests is proceeding at alarming rates in some countries and is tightly controlled in others. In China, the “national natural forest protection program” was started in 2000, and any logging in natural forest is illegal, as is the case in Thailand. Following that the “national reforestation program” was initiated to established tree plantations in bare land for natural protection in north-west China and wood production in southern China. Forests are classified as ecological forests and natural forest reserves which the government will pay about 120 RMB per ha annually to the forest owners, or commercial forests for wood production. Likewise, the Government of Vietnam has given high priority to forest rehabilitation, as Program 327 and the 5 Million Hectare Rehabilitation Program (MHRP). Program 327, which lasted from 1993 until 1998, was effective in increasing afforestation and forest rehabilitation. The 5MHRP (1998 – 2010) had the objective of rehabilitating 5 million ha of forests and protecting existing forests, in order to increase forest cover to 43%. Unlike China and Thailand, Vietnam obtains more than 90% of its timber volume from natural forest.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Sustainable Ecosystems Research Institute
Publisher: InTech
Copyright: CC BY 3.0 license
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Goal 15: Life on Land
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