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Shelter-Forest Management and Extension

Shelter forest management theories and technological systems that we developed have been emphasized enhancing the effectiveness of shelter forests in the northern part of China. These techniques include protection and delineation of mature shelter forests; quantification of the mature stage and regeneration of shelter forests; and focusing on three primary species and nine additional species for shelter forests in pre-mature, mature, and regeneration stages. We developed new methods to measure the structure of shelter forests and built models that included shelter forest structure and readily-measurable parameters. We have developed a series of techniques aimed at nurturing young shelter forests, maintaining optimal structure and maximal functionality at the mature stage, and restoring the protection function at the regeneration stage. We have determined tree densities and ratios for reserve and regeneration zones in sand dune-fixing forests and water conservation forests. The reserve–to–regeneration ratio should be approximately 1:3, which is considered to be the best management practice for shelter forests. We have also developed nine near-natural management types of shelter forests. We have studied the mechanisms of shelter forest degradation, proposed methodologies for early diagnosis of degradation and degeneration, and established effective measures to retard the functional decline of shelter forests. These accomplishments represent new concepts for shelter forest management, such as multiple species composition, multiple spatial configurations, and multiple shelter forest utilization, all of which contribute to minimizing risks, delaying the time of degradation, and optimizing the functionality in shelter forest management and protection.

Our research in this field has produced 211 papers and 6 books, and resulted in 7 patents. In the past three decades, these techniques have been applied to the management and protection of 1.59 million hectares of shelter forests in China and produced many economic and societal benefits. This research received a Second-Class Award for Science Advancement from the Chinese government.

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