Forest Transition Theory predicts that as a country develops the trend in amount of forested areas will be reversed from decreasing to expanding. As in other regions of the world, China's population growth and increasing per capita consumption have led to both a surge in demand for forest products and in pressures on forest ecosystems, which together have resulted in forest loss and degradation. This article analyses the historical process of forest transition in China, marked by a long-term decrease in forests followed by the recent recovery. Aside from impressive economic and technological developments, the causes of the forest transition lie in an unprecedented ecological crisis that has prompted an increased environmental awareness and the subsequent implementation of an active conservation policy. The transition in China's forest has also been linked to a displacement of impacts over other regions.
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Vol. 15 • No. 4