How to Balance Conservation and Utilization of Forests in China - Informing forest policy through on-the-ground experiences
More than 20 representatives participated in the discussion forum. Photo by Liu Chengye. 
APFNet hosted a discussion forum titled “Forest Management in China: Balancing Conservation and Utilization” at the newly established APFNet Pu’er Sustainable Forest Management Demonstration and Training Base from 30-31 July 2021. This forum enabled a critical exchange and exploration of the policy and regulations regarding different Chinese forest types, while contrasting it with experiences of sustainable forest management on the ground. Government officials from the Department of Forest Resources Management of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, the Chifeng Forestry and Grassland Bureau (Inner Mongolia Province), the Lin’an Forestry Bureau (Zhejiang Province), the Pu’er Forestry and Grassland Buearu (Yunnan Province), experts from Chinese Academy of Forestry, the Yunnan Academy of Forestry, and forestry practitioners executing  APFNet’s projects in Beijing, Anhui Province, Zhejiang Province, Yunnan Province, and Inner Mongolia Province discussed the specifics of the two main forest types defined by the Chinese Forest Law: Public Welfare Forests and Commercial Forests. Additionally, Zhang Jinfeng, the expert from Yunnan Academy of Forestry, introduced forest management at demonstration sites of APFNet's Pu'er project during field trips. Not only did the meeting participants learn about the management practices applied in the Betula alnoides forests and the Pinus kesiya var. langbianensis forests in the two different forest types, but they also provided valuable recommendations to the Pu'er practitioners on improving ecological conditions under current regulations.

The representatives introduced the Chinese APFNet projects during the first day of the meeting. Photo by Liu Chengye.

Zhang Jinfeng explaining the management practices to the representatives in the field. Photo by Liu Chengye.
As of 2021, APFNet has launched demonstration projects in Inner Mongolia,Anhui, Zhejiang and Yunnan, China. All of them have been able to gather experiences on the ground in different forest types. Many projects explicitly aimed to try new treatments to further improve on regulations regarding forest management in the future by demonstrating new and innovative approaches. While APFNet’s executive agencies have thus accumulated profound experiences in managing different forest ecosystems, this meeting allows the participants to directly exchange their interpretations on current regulations and experiences of balancing ecosystem services and economic outputs. Additionally, government officials and experts have articulated the critical role of developing multifunctional forestry in China.

The representatives were divided into three groups to discuss questions regarding forest management in China. Photo by Liu Chengye.

Cui Wushe emphasizing the importance of forest monitoring and forest landscape management. Photo by Anna Finke.
APFNet will soon produce a report on the outputs of the discussion forum and a policy brief introducing the challenges under current forestry regulations and recommendations.