This paper describes the role of forests in the development of China and the Chinese government's policies pertaining to national forests, from 1949 to 1977, in the sparsely inhabited north as well as the more densely inhabited south. During this period, government policies tended to be based on (communist) ideologies rather than the successful experiences of other countries. The most important events during this period was a land reforms that distributed the forestland among households from 1949; the collectivisation of the land through the commune system from around 1953; the Great Leap Forward, which aimed at a very rapid industrial development of the country, from 1957; and the Cultural Revolution, from 1966. Because of the lack of experience and foreign examples of the national leaders, this period was marred by reforms that would drastically overhaul the erstwhile policies. However, the purpose of forests remained largely unchanged: to produce cheap raw material and fuel for the national drive towards industrialisation, and to be transformed into agricultural land to feed the burgeoning population. This is first of three papers on the history of Chinese forest policies from 1949 to the present.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Cultural Revolution
- forest policies
- Great Leap Forward