CIFOR–ICRAF publishes over 750 publications every year on agroforestry, forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy and much more – in multiple languages.

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.

We deliver actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Local Dynamics Driving Forest Transition

Export citation

China has experienced extensive forest transition, from net deforestation to net forestation. Existing theories have highlighted economic growth, the intensification of agriculture and forest scarcity as the pathways of this transition, and studies, in particular from China, have also highlighted the contribution of a huge state afforestation program and the improved implementation and enforcement of forest protection policy and law. However, few studies have paid attention to local dynamics to provide a contextualized understanding of how forest transition has taken place at the local level and the significance of local factors in this change. This paper examines forest transition pathways in two villages in China. We consider the historical perspective and compare their local dynamics and variations to reach an understanding of the process of forest recovery at the local level. The results show that state forestry policies, including afforestation policy and tenure reform, arguably contribute to forest increase, while local processes including livelihood change and institutional factors play a key role in driving and shaping forest transition. We argue that there is a need for local-level studies and recommend including local institutions in forest transition analysis, contextualizing the socio-ecological interactions within the broader concept of political economy.

Altmetric score:
Dimensions Citation Count:

    Publication year



    He, J.; Lang, R.; Xu, J.




    forest rehabilitation



Related publications