“A Land of Bamboo Groves”: Collective-Owned Forest Tenure Reform in Southern China and Its Environmental Impacts

  •  Xiao Han    
  •  Lloyd Irland    
  •  Ying Zhang    
  •  Jinyu Shen    
  •  Yi Xie    


Environmental sustainability is a priority in China’s economic and social development. This article reviews the three-decade evolvement of forest tenure reform in China’s southern collectively-owned forest areas, and makes a preliminary assessment of the environmental impacts of the tenure transformation. We focus especially on an area that has been in the vanguard of reform—Sanming Prefecture in Fujian province. Transition paths that have shaped diverse forest tenure forms differ from place to place in southern China. Entirely new property rights and social relations have been created, largely on local initiative, in a brief time. De-collectivization and market oriented policies in general have supplied incentives for widespread forest planting and investment to supply new industries, with complex environmental impacts. The farmers involve express satisfaction with how the new tenure system has improved their autonomy and livelihoods. Further, systems of payments for environmental services are just beginning to emerge. However, comprehensive and integrative assessment of those effects at landscape level is in its infancy. A more adaptive strategy for monitoring effects and improving environmental performance in the land of bamboo groves is needed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4725
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4733
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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