Sichuan Province, China – July, 2011
Natural forests cover about 10 percent of China’s surface area, but few of the forests remain in a primary or pristine condition. Large swathes of forest have been destroyed by human activities including logging, wood collection and mining.
In China’s southern provinces, the mountainous forests that previously covered much of the region have been reduced by about 92 percent.
These forests are threatened primarily by timber collection, mining, unregulated harvesting of flora for traditional Chinese medicine and excessive development related to increased tourism. Increased reforestation efforts by authorities have also caused the proliferation of mono-culture forests, which are hampering forest recovery.
In 2011, the UN’s official “International Year of Forests,” the forests of the southwest of China were classified by Conservation International as one of the world’s top ten most threatened forest regions.