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Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in

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									         Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest
             Management in Northwestern China
                  (Forestry and Ecology Part)

       1.Background

       Criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management (SFM) have been becoming
       one of the important contents of United Nations Forest Forum (UNFF) and other world
       forestry conferences. They are promoting actively global forest conservation and sustainable
       management, forestry development, ecological improvement and environmental protection.
       Currently, over 150 countries and regions have participated in 9 different processes on
       sustainable forest management in the world. All of the countries and regions have been
       making their own criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management at national,
       regional and forest management unit levels under the C&I frameworks of the 9 processes.
       C&I Program Group of Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have finished
       “Tool Book of C&I for Sustainable Forest Management”. The methods for making and
       verifying C&I for sustainable forest management have been discussed particularly, and the
       processes and methods for C&I making and verifying have been put forward systemically in
       the book. China is not only the partner country of Montreal Process and International Tropical
       Timber Organizations (ITTO) Process, but also the initiative country of Arid Asia Process.
       China has made C&I for forest conservation and sustainable management suitable to its actual
       situations by referring the framework of Montreal Process. At the same time, China is making
       principles and criteria for forest certification by referring national C&I for SFM and
       international principles and criterion for forest certification. In addition, new regulation for
       forest harvest has been made and implementing in pilot sites through the support of Food and
       Agriculture Organization (FAO). All of the above promotes actively forest conservation and
       sustainable management, and have been becoming important measures for improving forestry
       development and eco-environmental construction in China.
            Northwestern China belongs to arid and semiarid area. There are special forest types and
       traditional living ways in the area. Economic development is relative low and




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       eco-environment is flimsy in the area. The specific geographical location of the area
       determines that maintenance of its ecological services or not affects at certain degree social
       and economic sustainable development of the whole country. Ongoing West Development
       Program also let eco-environmental construction in the area as the most important task. So,
       making C&I for SFM in northwestern China is one of the priorities and contents of the
       Sino-Germany Project on Forest Protection and Sustainable Management in Western China.
           The C&I are for northwestern China, including Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Nixia,
       Xijiang, Qinghai, and Tibet provinces or autonomous regions. The following regional
       characteristics of northwestern China have been concerned in making C&I of forestry and
       ecology:
           1) Obvious arid, flimsy environment, serious desertification, short water resource;
           2) Forest vegetation (including plantation forest) has irreplaceable function in
                  maintenance, restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems, especially the water
                  resource conservation forest in mountain area and the desert vegetation;
           3) Scarce plant species, low forest coverage, such as less than 6% in northwestern
                  China and less than 9% in northern China;
           4) Scarce natural forest, only distributes in high mountain area and riversides;
           5) Forest area is decreasing because of illegal cutting, encroachment of farmland,
                  pasture, urbanization, and other land degradation;
           6) Plantation forest occupies large proportion, single afforestation species causes serious
                  degradation and pest and disease in some local area;
           7) Status of shrub and shelterbelt system is prominent.
       2.Methods
       From forest and ecology point of view, the basic purpose of sustainable forest management is
       maintaining and increasing forest ecosystem health, and exerting ecosystem service. So, the
       indicators should be determined by concerning the aspects of structure and function of forest
       ecosystem. Restoration capacity of forest ecosystem must be paid attention in northwestern
       China. So, criteria and indicators (forestry and ecology part) for forest conservation and
       sustainable forest management in northwestern China have been made by referring the
       international and national research achievements on sustainable forest management and doing
       field investigations.




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            From the applicability of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management at
       regional and forest management unit level point of view, the following factors must be
       concerned in determining indicators:
           1) Relative closely to sustainable forest management;
           2) Monitoring, recording and interpreting easily, getting relevant information directly
               and easily;
           3) Providing a general synthesis method;
           4) Reflecting the changes of forest ecosystem disturbed by various pressures;
           The processes for making criteria and indicators must be as follows:
           1) Referring the international and national researches in the field, investigating and
               collecting data information in selected research area;
           2) Analyzing the situation of forest resource, management history, and problems in
               forest management in selected research area;
           3) Putting forward primarily framework of criteria and indicators for regional forest
               conservation and sustainable forest management;
           4) Analyzing information sources, measurement methods, availability of information of
               the indicators, and their relationships;
           5) Analyzing the possible existing problems in the application of the criteria and
               indicators;
           6) Verifying and summarizing the results by data availability and international and
               national research development;
           7) Modifying the framework of criteria and indicators by the way of colloquia and
               workshop.

       3.Processes for the application of Criteria and Indicator

       The processes for the application of Criteria and indicators are as following:
           1) Collecting relevant information for determined indicators, making study plan and
               doing filed study and measurement for the information available through filed study;
           2) Classifying and examining collected information;
           3) Verifying primarily the determined criteria and indicators by applying the collected
               information, assessing the current situation of the regional sustainable forest
               management;




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           4) Putting forward the revision suggestions for the indicators based on the assessment;
           5) Selecting warning indicators relevant to forest resource and its environment,
               indicating their threshold value;
           6) Concerning the contents of the criteria and indicators in making sustainable forest
               management plan, guideline for forest management, and forest conservation and
               utilization project;
           7) Making criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management at forest
               management unit level by referring regional framework of the criteria and indicators
               for sustainable forest management.

       4.Data information sources of the Criteria and Indicators

       Data information sources of the criteria and indicators are different because of the different
       information types for the criteria and indicators. All of the information for the indicators must
       be true and reliable. The information mainly comes from the annual reports, statistical
       almanacs, and statistical resource data issued by authority departments, such as local
       statistical bureau, forestry bureau, tourism bureau, environment bureau, and water
       conservancy bureau et al. The methods of investigation, measurement, and statistical analysis
       for the information available only through field study must be explained particularly.

       5.Pilot sites

       Zhangye City, Gansu Province: The area locates in west part of Gansu Province, which is the
       cross area between Tibet-Qinghai Plateau and Mongolia-Xinjiang desert. The elevation is
       1200-1600 m above sea level. Corridor flat area belongs to terrestrial warm-temperate arid
       climate, Qilian Mountain belongs to semi-arid mountainous grass land climate, and northern
       desert area belongs to terrestrial warm-temperate arid desert climate. Total people number was
       1.26 million in 2000, number of farmer occupied 84.6%. The net income of farmer was 2740
       yuan Renminbi per capita in 1999. Forest distributes intensively in Qilian Mountain area,
       There are large area farm shelterbelts and fragmentary desert shrubs in corridor area. The area
       of forest was 384 thousands hm2 in 2000, area of natural forest occupied69.4%. Area of shrub
       occupied 68.2% in natural forest. Forest area and stock is increasing. Biodiversity resource is
       plentiful in the area, especially Qilian Mountain area is the important gene pool in
       northwestern China.




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            Xiaolongshan Forestry Bureau, Gansu Province: The area locates among 8 counties of
       Tianshui, Longnan and Dingxi, including Xiaolongshan, Xiqinling and Guanshan forest area.
       Total area is 830 thousands hm2. Forest coverage is 54.5%, including 76% natural forest. The
       main species of natural forest are oak, poplar, and birch. For plantation forest, the main
       species are larch, Armand pine Chinese pine, Japanese pagodatree, and White willow. Total
       stuff number is 7766, including 17 professors, 150 assistant professors. They have finished 85
       scientific, demonstrative projects, 38 projects have been appraised. They have gotten 14
       scientific achievements.

       6.Framework of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in
        Northwestern China (Forestry and Ecology part)

       Criterion 1 Forest Resource and the Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles

       Limiting by physical conditions, shrub forest and four-side forest play important role in the
       area. Some relevant indicators should be included in the criterion. There many uncertainties in
       the research on global carbon balance and the contribution of forest to global carbon cycles.
       Available data are almost got from forest resource data and the estimation of other
       fragmentary data relevant to some processes in the forest. So, the indicators relevant to carbon
       cycles need to be studied and only applied in regional level.
       1.1 Proportion of forest land by type
       Rationale: Proportion of forest land by type is the basis that reflects the utilization degree and
       validity of forestry land. It can show the utilization pattern of forest land and composition of
       ecosystem.
       Explanation: Limiting by financial support, some forest management units can not carry
       through forest management inventory every ten years according to the regulations of forestry,
       and they do not have the credible model to renew the data. They cause that the information is
       inaccurate. Therefore, it is suggested that they should investigate the resource and renew the
       data timely according to the regulation.
       Information source and method: The information at regional level can be obtained from
       national forest inventory data, and the information at forest management unit level can be
       obtained from forest management unit inventory data and the renewed information every year.
       1.2 Area and percentage of forest, sparse forest and shrub
       Rationale: It is used to express the coverage and their changes of every type of forest
       vegetation, and average possession per capita.
       Explanation: The conception should be consistent because of the deferent definition
       (understanding) for forest, sparse forest, and shrub forest. The forest resource which is in
       non-forest land (agriculture land, grazing land, road side, river bank, village surrounding, and




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       so on) should not be neglected. It is necessary to establish and perfect the forest vegetation
       classification system for implementing the standardization of data collection method and low
       cost of data collection.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained from forest resource inventory,
       investigation and forest resource statistics report forms. The following types should be
       divided: (1) natural forest and plantation; (2) state, collective and private; (3) forest land and
       non-forest land; (4) timber forest, protection forest, special use forest, firewood forest and
       economy forest, or other classification way (such as public and commercial forest); (5)
       coniferous forest and broad-leaved forest, or other subdivision according to dominant species;
       (6) different age class or succession phases.
       1.3 Standing timber stock and growth
       Rationale: It is used to express the standing timber stock and growth and their changes, and
       average possession per capita.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained from forest resource inventory,
       investigation and forest resource statistics report forms. The following types should be
       divided: (1) natural forest and plantation; (2) state, collective and private; (3) forest land and
       non-forest land; (4) public forest and commercial forest; (5) coniferous forest and
       broad-leaved forest, or other subdivision according to dominant species; (6) different age
       class or succession phases.
       1.4 Biomass and growth of forest ecosystem
       Rationale: Forest biomass product is the basis for calculating forest carbon cycle. It is used to
       express the biomass, growth, and their changes of different forest ecosystems, and average
       possession per capita.
       Explanation: Biomass is different with the differences of forest ecosystem classification
       system. It is hard to calculate the underground biomass by using present method.
       Information source and method: The method for estimating biomass, the simulating model
       for estimating biomass, and wood bulk biomass estimating model. The following types should
       be divided: (1) forest, sparse forest and shrub forest; (2) natural forest and plantation; (3) state,
       collective and private; (4) forest land and non-forest land; (5) firewood forest and
       non-firewood forest, or other classification way (6) coniferous forest and broad-leaved forest,
       or other subdivision according to dominant species; (7) different age class or succession
       phases.
       1.5 Contribution of forest ecosystem to global carbon balance
       Rationale: The contribution of forest ecosystem to global carbon cycle stands for the effect of
       forest management activities on global ecosystem function.
       Explanation: The indicator is related to 1.4, 4.4, 4.5 and 4.6. Because of the complexity of
       ecologic process of forest ecosystem, the indicator does not consider the detailed process of
       carbon accumulation and emission during forest (including forest type) growth. It is estimated




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       that the aboveground forest biomass occupy approximately 86% of global vegetation biomass,
       and the forest soil carbon occupy 73% of global soil carbon. Annual emission of carbon
       caused by deforestation is 0.6~2 billion tons. It is 10%-33% of emission through fossil fuel.
       Information source and method: The research on carbon balance and forest contribution to
       carbon cycle is very superficial in global change, and the present method is very rough. The
       current data are almost estimated from forest resource data and other scattered information.
       The research on forest soil carbon emission, and forest peatland CO2、 4 emission have only
                                                                                CH
       done in specific region. It is difficult to estimate exactly carbon emission of forest cutting and
       absorption of forest growth because of the complexity of forest cutting and afforestation. The
       estimation of CO2 emission caused by forest cutting is mainly based on the changes of forest
       volume and the permanent conservation proportion of timber used in housing and furniture.
              Table 1 Framework of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in
               Northwestern China: Forest Resource and the Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles
                                                 Indicator   Applicabl     National
                         Indicators                                                             Remark
                                                   types       e level    SFM C&I
         1.1 Proportion of forest land by type      A          A、B            4.3
         1.2 Area and percentage of forest,         A          A、B          2.3; 2.5   By origin, ownership,
                                                                                       forest     type,      age
         sparse forest and shrub forest
                                                                                       class/successional stage,
                                                                                       et al.
         1.3 Standing timber stock and              A          A、B          2.2; 2.5   As the above
         growth
         1.4 Biomass and growth of forest            C         A、B            5.1      As the above
         ecosystem
         1.5 Contribution of forest ecosystem        C            A         5.4-5.6    Including absorption and
         to     global      carbon    balance.                                         emission of carbon;
         Transitional indicators:                                                      Relative to 1.4、4.4-4.6.

              a Area and contribution to
         carbon balance of new afforestation
              b Area and contribution to
         carbon balance of deforestation
        Note: Indicator types: A-indicators applicable directly; B-indicators applicable after short term research;
        C- indicators needing long term research.
        Application level: A-Regional level; B-Forest Management Unit Level

       Criterion 2 Maintenance of Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality

       The structure of the pure plantation forests composed by single species in the area is very
       simple. It causes that the forests are affected easily by pest and disease, the stability of the
       forest ecosystems are decreasing, and the ability of sustainable utilization is declining.




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       Conservation and restoration of existing rare virgin forest and natural secondary forest have
       important significance in maintaining forest ecosystem health and vitality. Firewood
       collection and forest browsing are the main factors that affect forest ecosystem health and
       vitality in the area.
       2.1 Area and proportion of forest, sparse forest and shrub forest affected by disasters
       Rationale: It is mainly used to describe the effect of serious destroying disturbance on forest,
       including (a) sorts, damage degree and extent of main plant disease, insect pests and rat; (b)
       damage degree and extent of fire disaster; (c) damage degree and extent of windstorm,
       drought and wind erosion.
       Explanation: The occurrences which does harm to forest ecosystem health include some
       natural process of fire disaster, plant disease and insect pests, windstorm, earthquake, frozen
       harm, flood and inshore hurricane, and so on. As long as its intensity and extent beyond
       certain degree, it may do harm to forest health. With regard to forest fire disaster, artificial
       factors must be considered.
       Information source and method: It may adopt the traditional way that combines sample
       investigation and remote sensing monitoring, carry out investigation with the consistent time
       and method all over the country, gather all the data from different regions. The data about
       forest plant disease, insect pests and rats harm can be obtained from the national investigation
       on forest plant disease, insect pests and rats harm. The data about forest fire and wind disaster
       can be obtained from forest resource and forest fire monitoring system and field investigation.
       With regard to the subject under disaster, the following types should be divided: (1) water
       resource conservation forest, windbreak forest, sand-fixing forest, economy forest, and so on;
       (2) natural forest and plantation; (3) coniferous forest and broad-leaved forest, or other
       particular subdivision according to dominant species; (4) different age class or succession
       phases.
       2.2 Area and proportion of forest, sparse forest and shrub forest affected by human
       disturbance
       Rationale: It is mainly used to describe the damage of human disturbance on forest, including:
       (a) the frequencies and influence extent of firewood collection and grazing; (b) exotic plant
       species and its negative effect (for example, the area and proportion of exotic tree plantation).
       Explanation: Over-cutting of firewood, collecting medicinal materials, grazing in forest land
       are very popular in arid region. It is doing harm to the health of forest ecosystem. Vast
       adoption of exotic tree species not only invades the local species’ habitat, but also influences
       local ecosystem’s food chain, which will endanger ecological safety. Even more, aggressive
       exotic plants may result in terrible ecological disaster.
       Information source and method: It may adopt the traditional way that combines sample
       investigation and remote sensing monitoring, and bring it into the forest resource
       investigation system The following types should be divided: (1) water resource conservation




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       forest, windbreak forest, sand-fixing forest, economy forest, and so on; (2) vegetation type.
       2.3 Area and proportion of natural forest with well regeneration capacity
       Rationale: Basic ecological process or forest land area and percentage which monitoring
       species is one of important indicators of forest health. The self regeneration condition of
       natural forest (or area and proportion of secondary forest) is a good substitute indicator.
       Explanation: The animal and plant species and number of forest ecosystem is the basis for
       exerting its function. If species composition of ecosystem obviously decreases, forest’s health
       and vigor will decline and ecosystem’s integrality and continuity will be destroyed.
       Information source and method: It may adopt the traditional way that combines sample
       investigation and remote sensing monitoring, and bring it into the investigation system of
       forest resource. The sorts bellow should be differentiated at large: (1) forest class (2)
       vegetation type
       2.4 Area and proportion of forest, sparse forest and shrub forest encroached
       Rationale: It is used to describe the encroachment of forest land and show the dynamic
       change of forest land.
       Explanation: Human economic activities often encroach forest vegetation, especially
       agriculture, grazing, urbanization, road construction, non-controlled tourism.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained from local statistics annals or
       forestry statistic annals. The following sorts should be divided at large: (1) forest type; (2)
       vegetation type
             Table 2 Framework of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in
                          Northwestern China: Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality
                                                      Indicator   Applicable   National
                        Indicators                                                              Remark
                                                       types        level      SFM C&I
         2.1 Area and proportion of forest,              B          A、B          3.1      By water resource
         sparse forest and         shrub     forest                                       conservation forest,
         affected by disasters, including:                                                shelterbelts system,
             a   Category     of     pests     and                                        sand fixing forest,
         diseases, degree and extent of                                                   and economic forest
         damage by the categories
             b Degree and extent of damage
         by burning, sandstorm, drought and
         wind erosion




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         2.2 Area and proportion of forest,           B            A、B              /       By forest type
         sparse forest and         shrub   forest
         affected by human disturbance,
         including:
             a Frequency and effect degree
         of firewood collection and forest
         browsing
             b Exotic species and their
         negative effects
         2.3 Area and proportion of natural           B            A、B           cf 3.4     Including area and
         forest     with    well    regeneration                                            proportion           of
         capacity                                                                           natural      secondary
                                                                                            forest
         2.4 Area and proportion of forest,           A            A、B              /       Encroached by farm
         sparse forest and         shrub   forest                                           and             pasture,
         encroached                                                                         urbanization,     road,
                                                                                            and          unplanned
                                                                                            tourism
        Note: Indicator types: A-indicators applicable directly; B-indicators applicable after short term research;
        C- indicators needing long term research.
        Application level: A-Regional level; B-Forest Management Unit Level

       Criterion 3 Conservation of Biological Diversity

       The natural ecological condition of the area is fragile. So, irrational human disturbances are
       very easy to cause the losses of biodiversity resource. Currently, the coverage of less-types
       water resource conservation forest is very low. Although there is large area of plantation
       forests (shelterbelt system, sand fixing forest and economic forest), there are many problems
       with the forest, such as singleness of species, aging, serious pest and disease damages,
       irrational structure collocation, and low regeneration capacity. Poverty causes obvious
       contradiction between development and conservation. In addition, habitat fragmentation is the
       main factor that causes the losses of species diversity. So, forest area has close relationship
       with ecosystem stability and species vitality. It is difficult to quantify some of the indicators
       that affected by the less research on ecosystem and genetic diversity. Concerning the
       availability of data source, the indicators on diversity of soil fauna and microbe are not listed
       in the criterion.
       3.1 Ecosystem diversity
       3.1.1 Area and proportion of forest types (forest, sparse forest and shrub forest)
       (including natural forest and plantation)




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       Rationale: Different vegetation types are the main body of aboveground biomass, area and
       proportion of every vegetation type is a basic factor to forecast ecosystem diversity in local
       region.
       Explanation: Different vegetation types have different ecological functions. If different
       vegetation types have suitable area and proportion, they can exert obvious ecological benefits.
       Information source and method: Integrating with local statistic annals or forestry statistics
       annals, doing field sample investigation.
       3.1.2 Area and proportion of broad-leaved and conifer plantation
       Rationale: It is used to describe the rationality on tree species arrangement of plantation. The
       proportion of coniferous forest and broad-leaved forest in plantation is one of much
       operational factors to evaluate the stability of plantation. Because of the deterioration of
       environment in the world, especially, decline of tropical rain forest, biodiversity is decreasing.
       Nowadays, 25 percent species in the world is extinct, and 20-30 percent species is in the
       danger of extinction. Some research shows that 200 species were extinct in China, and 5000
       species are in danger.
       Explanation: Plantation ecosystem offers a seemly habitat for species in it, and composition
       and structure of ecosystem may influence species richness directly. Therefore, maintaining
       ecosystem diversity is pivotal to maintain species and gene diversity. The research on
       diversity has begun too late in China. Although many large scale integrated surveys have been
       done on species resource, flora and vegetation, and so on, background of plantation diversity
       is clear, some criteria are still difficult to quantify.
       Information source and method: Data can be obtained from local statistic annals or forestry
       statistics annals. In addition, the traditional way that combines sample investigation and
       remote sensing monitoring can be adopted.
       3.1.3 Area and proportion of protected forest
       Rationale: The indicator is mainly used to describe the proportion of protected forest that
       stands for biodiversity and its management
       Explanation: Nature reserves and forest parks have very important functions in maintaining
       regional biodiversity and typicality.
       Information source and method: Forestry statistic annals and regionalization of forest
       classification management.
       3.1.4 Degree of forest fragmentation
       Rationale: The indicator mainly considers the decrease of forest coverage. The fragmentation
       of forest including degrease of total habitat area and non-continuous fragment of remaining
       habitat. Forest fragmentation has reduced ecosystem’s ability against to disturbing and ability
       of living and breeding. Fragmentation is closely related to the decrease of forest cover and
       gene resource in forest system. In addition, as to maintaining species’ breeding and gene
       diversity, fragmentation results in the change of gene flow of population.




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       Explanation: No experience on the measurement of species diversity change and ecological
       process, no forest fragmentation’s illumination. Appropriate fragmentation is advantageous to
       protect biodiversity. However, human activities always cause excessive fragmentation of
       forest ecosystem. The evaluation of this indicator should be mainly based on natural forest. It
       is difficult to obtain the forest fragmentation data in China.
       Information source and method: Modern high technology, for example, RS and GIS,
       provides a precise method for the measurement of spatial distribution fragmentation. The
       information of gene bank fragmentation should be obtained by means of population genetics.
       3.2 Species diversity
       3.2.1 Number of forest dependent species
       Rationale: Number of species is the most direct and evident indicator to measure species
       diversity.
       Explanation: The validity of the indicator of species number rest on the effective monitoring,
       but it is difficult to monitor some endangered species. Therefore it is necessary to plan the
       monitoring level according to the extent of difficulty and easiness. The indicator lists species
       number that must be highlighted in forest management, but it is not able to show the influence
       of forest management on the transformation trend of species diversity and time transformation
       trend of species number.
       Information source and method: Number of forest dependent species may be obtained
       through the investigation on background of forest ecosystem, but it is difficult to obtain the
       precise data. The data on the situation of rare and endangered species may exactly be acquired
       through special investigation.
       3.2.2 Number of rare and endangered forest dependent species
       Rationale: Species threatened situation, specific extent, endangered situation and extinct ratio
       and reason, are important contents for research on species biodiversity, also are the basis for
       research on protection and sustainable utilization of forest biodiversity.
       Explanation: Species composition in China divided as: (1) arbor; (2) shrub; (3) herbage; (4)
       epiphyte, especially, symbiotic mycorrhizal fungus with forest; (5) insect; (6) bird; (7)
       mammal; (8) amphibian; (9) crawler, and so on. The protection of key species in forest
       ecosystem should be given high priority, because they control the composition structure of
       community and determine other species existing. Endangered extent of some species can be
       controlled difficultly by forest manger.
       Information source and method: The data mainly comes from《list of rare and endangered
       protective plants》 and 《list of national main protective animals》
       3.2.3 Forest harvest technique (including annual cutting area of forest ecosystem
       with endemic species)
       Rationale: The indicator aims at evaluating the influence of different harvest way of forest
       resource on forest biodiversity.




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       Explanation: Forest product can be divided into wood product and non-wood product
       according to the purpose of utilization. Different forest products have different harvest ways,
       and different harvest ways bring different influences on forest.
       Information source and method: It can be directly acquired through forest management
       files of every forest management units and designing scheme of forest cutting work.
       3.3 Genetic diversity
       3.3.1 Number of forest dependent species with decreasing habitats
       Rationale: The number of forest dependent species is a much evident quantitative indicator
       that is used to evaluate the genetic diversity within forest ecosystem.
       Explanation: Genetic diversity is a foundation of species inheritance and evolution, the more
       abundant genetic variation one species has; the more adaptability it has. Decrease of
       distribution area and number of some forest dependent species reduce their genetic diversity.
       Information source and method: Doing sample investigation in small scope on the spot
       combining with population genetics.
       3.3.2 Population levels of representative species (animals and plants) in their
       habitats
       Rationale: To some extent, the change of representative species population reflects the
       change of all of species population in the ecosystem, and monitoring and research on
       representative species are comparatively more special and more exact.
       Explanation: Species genetic diversity will decline because of their diminishing distribution
       area and number. The representative species which have specially important or potential
       commercial value or other importance should be protected through preserving, analyzing and
       monitoring and breeding the representative species and their offspring for a long time in the
       established nature reserve of seeds property, and monitoring some population of
       representative species from various habitats.
       Information source and method: Combining with population genetics technology,
       monitoring some representative species dynamically.
       3.3.3 Conservation of genetic resources of tree species
       Rationale: While protecting one species, the population which having genetic diversity may
       lose, therefore some forest species which have important commercial value and importance of
       genetics should be specific protected.
       Explanation: Establishing gene banks of forest seeds property through preserving, analyzing
       and monitoring and breeding some species and their offspring for a long time. Protecting the
       representative species which have specially important or potentially commercial value or
       other importance through establishing gene nature reserve, and monitoring some population
       of representative species from various habitats
       Information source and method: The data related to the number of forest species whose
       distribution area remarkably diminished and the number of in situ and ex situ protect species




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       is easy to obtain. Monitoring distribution area and population level.
       3.3.4 Proportion of afforestation species with genetic decline and to be regenerated
       Rationale: Proportion of afforestation species with genetic decline and to be regenerated is
       the evaluation basis and important factor of afforestation species genetic diversity.
       Explanation: Vegetation type is the syntheses of plant communities with similar plant species
       composition and sites condition. The same vegetation type should be managed by same
       measures. It has not been used practically because of insufficient research. If the number of
       one species evidently diminishes in their distribution area, its genetic diversity and viability
       will decline.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained through doing sample
       investigation in small area combining with population genetics.
             Table 3 Framework of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in
                           Northwestern China: Conservation of Biological Diversity
                                                  Indicator   Applicable   National
                        Indicators                                                              Remark
                                                   types        level      SFM C&I
         3.1 Ecosystem diversity
         3.1.1 Area and proportion of forest         B          A、B         1.1.1     (1)      By     age     class/
         types (forest, sparse forest and shrub
                                                                            1.1.2     successional stage
         forest) (including natural forest and
         plantation)                                                                  (2) Involving water
                                                                                      resource conservation
                                                                                      forest,                  farm
                                                                                      shelterbelt           system,
                                                                                      sand fixing forest, and
                                                                                      economic forest
         3.1.2   Area    and    proportion   of      A          A、B         1.1.3     Including        area     and
         broad-leaved and conifer plantation                                          proportion of           mixed
                                                                                      forest
         3.1.3   Area    and    proportion   of      A          A、B         1.1.4     By vegetation types
         protected forest                                                   1.1.5     and           their       age
                                                                                      class/successional
                                                                                      stage
         3.1.4 Degree of forest fragmentation        C          A、B         1.1.6     Measurement method
                                                                                      need to be studied
         3.2 Species diversity
         3.2.1 Number of forest dependent            A          A、B         1.2.1     Name list of flora and
               species
                                                                                      fauna




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         3.2.2     Number of rare and               A          A、B           1.2.2     Determined             by
                 endangered forest dependent
                                                                                       legislation or scientific
                 species
                                                                                       assessment
         3.2.3     Forest harvest technique         B          A、B             /       Non-destroying degree
                 (including annual cutting area
                                                                                       of harvest technique
                 of forest ecosystem with
                 endemic species)
         3.3 Genetic diversity
         3.3.1 Number of forest dependent           B          A、B           1.3.1
         species with decreasing habitats
         3.3.2     Population        levels   of    B          A、B           1.3.2     Important         value,
         representative species (animals and                                           population dynamic
         plants) in their habitats
         3.3.3    Conservation       of   genetic   A          A、B           1.3.3     By ex situ or in situ
         resources of tree species                                                     method
         3.3.4 Proportion of afforestation          A          A、B             /       Involving    shelterbelt
         species with genetic decline and to                                           system and economic
         be regenerated                                                                forest
        Note: Vegetation type is the syntheses of plant communities with similar plant species composition and
        sites condition. The same vegetation type should be managed by same measures. It has not been used
        practically because of insufficient research.
        Indicator types: A-indicators applicable directly; B-indicators applicable after short term research; C-
        indicators needing long term research.
        Application level: A-Regional level; B-Forest Management Unit Level

       Criterion 5 Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources

       Northwestern China is the main area of desertification and water and soil losses. Mountain
       forests have the most important functions in alleviating water and soil losses. Shelterbelt
       systems for farmland and pasture, shrub types distribute in various sand lands, and plantations
       in oasis play irreplaceable role in combating desertification. The ongoing Grain for Green
       Program in the area has important significance in increasing the capacity for conservation and
       maintenance of soil and water resources.
       5.1 Area and proportion of forest lands managed primarily for defending functions
       a. Area and proportion of soil and water conservation forest in important drainage area
       Rationale: Soil and water and conservation forest in important drainage area is significant to
       conserve soil and water in drainage area. Area and coverage of soil and water conservation
       forest are the main referring factors in evaluating its conservation function.
       Explanation: Soil and water conservation forest can prevent and cure flood burst, soil erosion,
       slope slip and other disasters, and can purify water.
       Information source and method: Data can be obtained from forest resource investigation




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       results and related research reports and files in irrigation department, and so on.
       b. Area and proportion of different species
       Rationale: The indicator is a basic factor to evaluate the structure of soil and water
       conservation forest is rational or not, and the function of the forest is evident or not.
       Explanation: The function of soil and water conservation forest whose plantation species
       reasonably are arranged in pairs and groups is relatively better. Forest whose species are
       arranged complicatedly are relatively more adaptive when habitat changes.
       Information source and method: Data can be obtained from forest resource management
       inventory. If it is still not enough, data can be obtained from the combination with forest
       management materials, and doing sample investigation on the spot.
       5.2 Run off volume, sustained time, and the ratio of flow bottom to flow peak of
       drainage area and forest catchments
       Rationale: The indicator is used to evaluate the effect of forest management and other factors
       on runoff volume and its fluctuation. Forest management, deforestation or afforestation can
       increase or decrease run off volume, sustained time, and the ratio of flow bottom to flow peak
       by changing water reallocation (for example, interception and transpiration ) in forest area.
       Explanation: The indicator can be used to evaluate the synthetic effect of the change of land
       use and forest management. The change of drainage area and forest catchments may be
       caused by non-forest land use in the drainage. The quantity of water which flows out the
       forest ecosystem is related to vegetation (for example, litter) and soil property (for example,
       soil porosity). The quality of water can be reflected by the inorganic suspend matter, content
       of nutritional matter (N、P、K) and artificial synthesized poisonous compound. Water quality,
       water quantity and their changes within ecosystem can influence forest productivity and other
       species living environment. Water quality, water quantity and their changes flowing out the
       ecosystem can influence the species (especially aquicolous species) environment in the
       drainage.
       Information source and method: Through the survey of local inhabitants, historical runoff
       of stream or river can be known. Watershed localized research, monitoring representative
       stream for a long time, using the hydrologic model are help to get information.
       5.3 Area and percent of water bodies in forest areas with significant variance of
       biological diversity or physical and chemical properties from historic range of
       variability
       Rationale: The change of flora and fauna of water bodies in forest areas reflect the water
       body’s living environment condition and water quality. Physical and chemical characteristics
       of water body reflect the health status of aquicolous environment and the quality of human
       used water (drinking, irrigating, touring etc.). The timely monitor of the variable shows that
       the management methods at present or in the past have some positive or negative effect on
       water quality, then adjust effectively the management measures to maintain or improve water




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       quality. The aim of the indicator is to evaluate the relation between water quality and the
       frequency, intension and extent of forest management. Change of water quality may be caused
       by the natural phenomena or other factors beyond forest management.
       Explanation: It is very necessary to monitor the biodiversity in forest water body. It should
       be brought into the national forest ecosystem monitoring system. Water body quality is
       evaluated by biodiversity of the body at small scale and by physical and chemical property of
       the body at large scale. On the quantity and distribution of forest water body, there is a part of
       data for the body with large area or length, and there is no data for most of the body with
       small area or length. It is almost impossible to get the data on plant and animal of the body.
       The historical data is more absent. The data on physical and chemical property of the body
       can be obtained from hydrological station or some long term runoff observation. There are
       some national or local criteria on water quality for different water using purpose.
       Information source and method: It is very difficult to get the historical data on the change
       of animal, plant, and the physical and chemical property of water body in the forest. But the
       data of primitive area not be destroyed can be used as basic historical contrast. Data on the
       quantity and the distribution of forest water body can be obtained by forest source survey and
       remote sensing. The data on species and number of animal and plant in water body only can
       be obtained by the way of typical sample and long term localized monitoring.
       5.4 Degree and extent of soil erosion
       Rationale: The indicator is to measure the extent of soil erosion which lead to soil fertility
       decreasing obviously or sediment in stream increasing obviously. It is very important for
       hydrology, productivity, biodiversity, carbon cycle, and ecology system function.
       Explanation: The accident influence forest soil erosion including fire disaster, grazing and
       facilitate construction (e.g. forest path), forest cutting, clearing ground, regeneration, and
       cultivating the young trees. The historical data of the indicator is very difficult to get. It is not
       easy to give a scientific definition of “severe soil erosion”. It is very difficult to measure the
       regional erosion area.
       Information source and method: The current data source includes few soil erosion
       monitoring plots; experimental data of precipitation simulation; and few observation plots of
       erosion process. There is no good method for getting rational statistical data of regional soil
       erosion. But there are some alternative methods, such as report of plot materials based on
       forest types and their land use way. The plot observation should have relative contrasts. The
       settlement of the contrast should take account for natural difference, such as geology, terrain,
       wind and hydrology etc, and no human disturb, such as forest cutting. The methods include
       the application of erosion measurement method, analysis of the data of management planning
       and its implementation, GIS and RS, simulation based on the relationship between erosion
       amount and environmental factors.
       5.5 Area and proportion managed in soil and water erosion area




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       a. Area and proportion of slope with soil and water conservation measures
       Rationale: The indicator is used to evaluate the management situation of farmland in steep
       slope area. China is a mountainous country. Farming in steep slope in high mountain area is
       very popular and is one of the most important reasons caused soil and water losses.
       Explanation: Plowing crops in steep slope above 25 ℃ is forbidden in China. For the
       ploughed steep slope, it should be returned to forest and grassland according to the actual
       conditions based on construction of basic agricultural land.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained from the relevant statistic
       materials and governmental documents. The following three inferior indicators should be
       considered: actual and required area of returning agricultural land to forest; actual and
       required area of returning forest to grass; actual and required area of returning agricultural
       land to forest and/or grass.
       b. Area and proportion managed in soil and water erosion area
       Rationale: It is used to evaluate the control of soil erosion caused by human activity.
       Synthetic management technology of small drainage is mainly used in soil erosion area. The
       indicator includes two interior indicators: area and proportion managed in soil and water
       erosion area above middle and low degree and area and proportion managed in soil and water
       erosion area at low degree.
       Explanation: Management development of soil and water erosion area is not only relative to
       the technology of synthetic management of soil and water maintenance, but also relative to
       the reasonable policy and its implementation.
       Information source and method: The data is easy to get. But some supplemental research
       needs to be done. The data source includes statistical documents of forestry and water
       resource department, and expert research report.
       c. Degree, area and proportion of protected forest ground vegetation
       Rationale: Forest ground vegetation is very important for maintaining forest productivity,
       preventing soil erosion, and protecting the habitat of wild animal. It is mainly used to measure
       the protection situation forest ground vegetation.
       Explanation: Firewood development is an important way to protect forest ground vegetation.
       Development of replaced energy, such as utilization of firedamp, sun energy and wind energy,
       is helpful to protect forest ground vegetation.
       Information source and method: Sample investigation. Establishing classification criteria of
       forest ground vegetation (e.g. excellent, normal, bad) by forest types.
       5.6 Defending and increasing benefits assessment of farm shelterbelt and sand fixing
       forest
       Rationale: Defending and increasing benefits of farm shelterbelt and sand fixing forest is one
       of the main indicators for assessing eco-environmental benefits of the forests.
       Explanation: Limiting by current research methods, it is not easy to get accurate data though




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       the indicator is very important.
       Information source and method: The data can be obtained by searching the evaluation of
       local people on the defending benefits of the forests and relevant material on assessment
       research.
       5.7 Area and percentage of plantation forest which has a serious degradation of site
       index
       a. Area and percentage of continuous cropping plantation forest
       Rationale: The indicator is used to measure the effect degree and extent of area and
       percentage of plantation on decrease of soil fertility. Management measures, such as
       singleness of tree species, or irrational choice of tree species, short rotation period, site
       preparation, intercrop in the forest, continuous crop, and firewood collection and other human
       activities can lead to degradation of site index.
       Explanation: China has large area plantation. Contrasting with broad-leaved forest,
       coniferous forest has low ability for maintaining soil fertility. Some main plantation species
       have soil degradation and continuous productivity decease at certain extent. Complicated
       forest structure has important role in maintaining soil fertility and preventing soil erosion. The
       simple structure of existing plantation influences the exertion of comprehensive forest
       function. Some management measures, such as site preparation, are benefit for improving soil
       physical property. The effect of using of pesticide and herbicide on physical characteristics of
       forest soil needs to be evaluated.
       Information source and method: The data of experimental plots in typical forest type can be
       gotten. The change degree of forest productivity can be reflected by some indirect indexes, e.g.
       indicative forest ground plant species, ground litter, number of young tree, and root growth.
       b. Area and percentage of forest with significant changes of soil quality
       Rationale: Soil maintenance should include preventing the decrease of soil fertility. Decrease
       of soil fertility is influenced by soil erosion. In addition, it represents the changes of soil
       physical and chemical characteristics, soil enzyme, and soil microbe composition.
       Explanation: The reasons caused the changes of soil quality include deficit input and output
       of main nutrition in the system, soil and water losses, changes of soil organic matter and other
       characteristics, changes of soil enzyme activity and microbe composition, or accumulation of
       poisonous matter. The effect of human activities on soil physical property will change soil
       productivity, forest hydrological effect, and other ecological process. Application of
       mechanical equipment during forest harvesting is the main reason leading to change of soil
       bulky. Forest paths have great effect on physical property of forest soil.
       Information source and method: Typical research on soil quality need to be done.
             Table 4 Framework of the Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in
                Northwestern China: Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources




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                                                         Indicator   Applicabl   National
                           Indicators                                                                Remark
                                                          types       e level    SFM C&I
        5.1 Area and proportion of forest lands             A         A、B          4.3      (1) By natural and
        managed         primarily   for     defending                                       plantation forest;
        functions, including:                                                               (2) By water resource
           a. Area and proportion of soil and                                               conservation        forest,
              water       conservation     forest   in                                      shelterbelt system and
              important drainage area                                                       sand fixing forest
           b. Area and proportion of different
              species
        5.2 Run off volume, sustained time, and             B         A、B          4.4      Need             long-term
            the ratio of flow bottom to flow
                                                                                            observation
            peak of drainage area and forest
            catchments
        5.3 Area and percent of water bodies in             C         A、B          4.5      Including
            forest areas with significant variance
                                                                                            sedimentation content
            of biological diversity or physical
            and chemical properties from                                                    and      water     quality
            historic range of variability                                                   variation in rivulet
        5.4 Degree and extent of soil erosion               B         A、B          4.1      Including
                                                                                            desertification area
        5.5 Area and proportion managed in soil             B         A、B        4.2; 4.6   By       high      degree,
            and water erosion area, including
                                                                                 4.8; 4.9   middle      degree,    and
           a. Area and proportion of slope with
                                                                                            low degree
              soil      and    water      conservation
                                                                                            (2) Including turning
              measures
                                                                                            farmland to forest
           b. Area and proportion managed in
              soil and water erosion area
           c. Degree, area and proportion of
              protected forest ground vegetation
        5.6 Defending and increasing benefits               C         A、B           /       Including assessment
        assessment of farm shelterbelt and sand                                             of defending function
        fixing forest                                                                       in disaster weather




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        5.7 Area and percentage of plantation           C          A、B            4.7
            forest which has a serious
            degradation of site index, including:
            a. Area and percentage of continuous
              cropping plantation forest
            b. Area and percentage of forest with
              significant changes of soil quality
        Note: Indicator types: A-indicators applicable directly; B-indicators applicable after short term research;
        C- indicators needing long term research.
        Application level: A-Regional level; B-Forest Management Unit Level




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