Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (2): 233-248    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0004-3
Orginal Article     
Forest recovery after clear-cutting in Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) plantations of North China
Boqian DONG1, Kuangji ZHAO1, Zhibin WANG1, Zhongkui JIA1,*(), Lvyi MA1, Xinli XIA2
1 Key Laboratory for Silviculture and Conservation of the Ministry of Education, College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2 College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
Download: HTML     PDF(453KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


In Hebei Province of North China, forest was recovered with natural recruitment in plantations with large area of clear-cutting Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis). This study was aimed to demonstrate the dynamic characteristics of recruits during the natural recruitment. Both plot survey and the spatial point-pattern analysis were performed. Five developmental stages of natural recruitment were selected and studied, including 1 year before and 2, 5, 8, and 11 years after clear-cutting. Different slope aspects were also included. Natural recruitment was always dominated by Chinese pine with a proportion of higher than 90%. For plots of 1 year before clear-cutting on east- and north-facing slopes, recruit densities were 7886 and 5036 stems/hm2, the average heights were 0.78 (±0.85) and 1.06 (±1.15) m, and the average diameters at breast height (DBH) were 3.21 (±1.38) and 2.91 (±1.38) cm, respectively. After clear-cutting, recruit density was initially increased, then it was gradually declined with time; however, the variation of average DBH was contrary to that of recruit density. Both of them were no longer varied between 8 and 11 years after clear-cutting. The average height of recruits continued to increase after clear-cutting. For the plots of 11 years after clear-cutting on east- and north-facing slopes, average heights of recruits reached 2.00 (±1.14) and 2.24 (±1.20) m, respectively. The statuses of recruits on north-facing slopes were better than those on east-facing slopes after clear-cutting. Meanwhile, recruits on east-facing slopes were always aggregated at small scales, while spatial pattern of recruits varied with time on north-facing slopes. Moreover, forest was recovered more quickly by natural recruitment than by artificial afforestation after clear-cutting. The structural diversity was higher in naturally regenerated forests than in plantations of the same age. Our results demonstrated that clear-cutting of Chinese pine plantations recovered by natural recruitment has the potential to be an effective approach for establishing multifunctional forest.

Key wordsChinese pine      natural recruitment      clear-cutting      slope aspect      spatial pattern      Hebei Province     
Received: 03 May 2017      Published: 10 April 2018
Corresponding Authors: Zhongkui JIA     E-mail:
About author:

The first and fourth authors contributed equally to this work.

Cite this article:

Boqian DONG, Kuangji ZHAO, Zhibin WANG, Zhongkui JIA, Lvyi MA, Xinli XIA. Forest recovery after clear-cutting in Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) plantations of North China. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(2): 233-248.

URL:     OR

[1] Akhavan R, Sagheb-Talebi K, Zenner E K, et al.2012. Spatial patterns in different forest development stages of an intact old-growth oriental beech forest in the Caspian region of Iran. European Journal of Forest Research, 131(5): 1355-1366.
[2] Barbeito I, Pardos M, Calama R, et al.2008. Effect of stand structure on Stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) regeneration dynamics. Forestry, 81(5): 617-629.
[3] Bermúdez A M, Fernández-Palacios J M, González-Mancebo J M, et al.2007. Floristic and structural recovery of a laurel forest community after clear-cutting: A 60 years chronosequence on La Palma (canary islands). Annals of Forest Science, 64(1): 109-119.
[4] Buermeyer K R, Harrington C A.2002. Fate of overstory trees and patterns of regeneration 12 years after clearcutting with reserve trees in Southwest Washington. Wester Journal of Applied Forestry, 17(2): 78-85.
[5] Camarero J J, Gutiérrez E, Fortin M J, et al.2005. Spatial patterns of tree recruitment in a relict population of Pinus uncinata: forest expansion through stratified diffusion. Journal of Biogeography, 32(11): 1979-1992.
[6] Carrer M, Soraruf L, Lingua E.2013. Convergent space-time tree regeneration patterns along an elevation gradient at high altitude in the Alps. Forest Ecology and Management, 304: 1-9.
[7] CCFM (Canadian Council of Forest Ministers). 2006. Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management in Canada-National Status 2005. Ottawa: Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, 154.
[8] Coates K D.2002. Tree recruitment in gaps of various size, clearcuts and undisturbed mixed forest of interior British Columbia, Canada. Forest Ecology and Management, 155(1-3): 387-398.
[9] Condit R, Ashton P S, Baker P, et al.2000. Spatial patterns in the distribution of tropical tree species. Science, 288(5470): 1414-1418.
[10] Dong L, Guo D G, Duan Y H, et al.2013. Spatial distribution patterns of regenerating Quercus wutaishanica-Pinus tabulaeformis in relation to topographic factors in the Lingkong Mountain. Chinese Journal of Applied and Environmental Biology, 19(6): 914-921. (in Chinese)
[11] Fajardo A, González M E.2009. Replacement patterns and species coexistence in an Andean Araucaria-Nothofagus forest. Journal of Vegetation Science, 20(6): 1176-1190.
[12] Fajardo A, Goodburn J M, Graham J.2006. Spatial patterns of regeneration in managed uneven-aged ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forests of Western Montana, USA. Forest Ecology and Management, 223(1-3): 255-266.
[13] Fang Z Q, Bao W K, Yan X L, et al.2014. Understory structure and vascular plant diversity in naturally regenerated deciduous forests and Spruce plantations on similar clear-cuts: implications for forest regeneration strategy selection. Forests, 5(4): 715-743.
[14] Franklin J, Santos E V.2011. A spatially explicit census reveals population structure and recruitment patterns for a narrowly endemic pine, Pinus torreyana. Plant Ecology, 212(2): 293-306.
[15] Greene D F, Johnson E A.1996. Wind dispersal of seeds from a forest into a clearing. Ecology, 77(2): 595-609.
[16] Greene D F, Kneeshaw D D, Messier C, et al.2002. Modelling silvicultural alternatives for conifer regeneration in boreal mixed wood stands (aspen/white spruce/balsam fir). The Forestry Chronicle, 78(2): 281-295.
[17] Guo H, Zhao H F, Wang S X, et al.2015. Determining the recruitment limitation of three native woody species in the Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis Carr.) plantations on the Loess Plateau, China. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 30(6): 538-546.
[18] Guo Q S.1992. Quantitative analysis of natural regeneration of Chinese pine stand. Journal of Hebei Forestry College, 7(2): 99-106. (in Chinese)
[19] Haeussler S, Bergeron Y.2004. Range of variability in boreal aspen plant communities after wildfire and clear-cutting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 34(2): 274-288.
[20] Han W J, Cao X P, Zhang W H.2014. Effect of ground cover on early regeneration of Pinus tabulaeformis plantation. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 50(1): 49-54. (in Chinese)
[21] Han W J, Yuan X Q, Zhang W H.2012. Effects of gap size on seedling natural regeneration in artificial Pinus tabulaeformis plantation. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 23(11): 2940-2948. (in Chinese)
[22] Holmgren M, Scheffer M, Huston M A.1997. The interplay of facilitation and competition in plant communities. Ecology, 78(7): 1966-1975.
[23] Ignacio B, Marie-Josée F, Fernando M, et al.2009. Response of pine natural regeneration to small-scale spatial variation in a managed Mediterranean mountain forest. Applied Vegetation Science, 12(4): 488-503.
[24] Ilisson T, Chen H Y H.2009. Response of six boreal tree species to stand replacing fire and clearcutting. Ecosystems, 12(5): 820-829.
[25] Kurokochi H, Toyama K, Hogetsu T.2010. Regeneration of Robinia pseudoacacia riparian forests after clear-cutting along the Chikumagawa River in Japan. Plant Ecology, 210(1): 31-41.
[26] Li D W, Wang D M, Yao W X.2010. Autotoxicity of Pinus tabulaeformis and its ecology significance. Scientia Silvae Sinicae, 46(11): 174-178. (in Chinese)
[27] Liu M G, Yin Y, Kong F S, et al.2014. Effecting factors of natural regeneration of Pinus tabulaeformis plantation in semiarid region, Western Lioaning. Journal of Shenyang Agricultural University, 45(4): 418-423. (in Chinese)
[28] Liu M G, Zhao W H, Yin Y, et al.2009. Artificial promoting measures on natural regeneration of Pinus tabulaeformis plantation in semiarid region. Journal of Shenyang Agricultural University, 40(3): 313-317. (in Chinese)
[29] López R P, Larrea-Alcázar D, Zenteno-Ruiz F.2010. Spatial pattern analysis of dominant species in the Prepuna: Gaining insight into community dynamics in the semi-arid, subtropical Andes. Journal of Arid Environments, 74(11): 1534-1539.
[30] Luo Z R, Mi X C, Chen X R, et al.2012. Density dependence is not very prevalent in a heterogeneous subtropical forest. Oikos, 121(8): 1239-1250.
[31] Man R Z, Rice J A, MacDonald G B.2013. Performance of planted spruce and natural regeneration after pre- and post-harvest spraying with glyphosate and partial cutting on an Ontario (Canada) boreal mixedwood site. Forestry, 86(4): 475-480.
[32] Peterken G F.1996. Natural Woodland: Ecology and Conservation in Northern Temperate Regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 20.
[33] Prévost M, Gauthier M M.2013. Shelterwood cutting in a red spruce-balsam fir lowland site: Effects of final cut on water table and regeneration development. Forest Ecology and Management, 291: 404-416.
[34] Ren L H, Zou G X, Li F M.2010. Distribution of Seedlings in the Forest of Pinus tabulaeformis and Natural Regeneration on Western Liaoning. Protection Forest Science and Technology,(1): 11-13, 35. (in Chinese)
[35] Rodwell J S, Patterson G.1994. Creating new native woodlands. London: HMSO(Her/His Majesty's Stationary Office), 82.
[36] Sakai A, Hirayama T, Oshioka S, et al.2006. Effects of elevation and postharvest disturbance on the composition of vegetation established after the clear-cut harvest of conifer plantations in southern Shikoku, Japan. Journal of Forest Research, 11(4): 253-265.
[37] Schurr F M, Bossdorf O, Milton S J, et al.2004. Spatial pattern formation in semi-arid shrubland: a priori predicted versus observed pattern characteristics. Plant Ecology, 173(2): 271-282.
[38] Spracklen B D, Lane J V, Spracklen D V, et al.2013. Regeneration of native broadleaved species on clearfelled conifer plantations in upland Britain. Forest Ecology and Management, 310: 204-212.
[39] Stuiver B M, Wardle D A, Gundale M J, et al.2016. Seedling responses to changes in canopy and soil properties during stand development following clear-cutting. Forest Ecology and Management, 378: 31-43.
[40] Sturgess P, Atkinson D.1993. The clear-felling of sand-dune plantations: soil and vegetational processes in habitat restoration. Biological Conservation, 66(3): 171-183.
[41] Swaim J T, Dey D C, Saunders M R, et al.2016. Predicting the height growth of oak species (Quercus) reproduction over a 23-year period following clearcutting. Forest Ecology and Management, 364: 101-112.
[42] Taylor A R, Hart T, Chen H Y H.2013. Tree community structural development in young boreal forests: A comparison of fire and harvesting disturbance. Forest Ecology and Management, 310: 19-26.
[43] Wang W, Ma L Y, Jia Z K, et al.2012. A study of growing process of Pinus tabulae formis plantation in Pingquan, Hebei. Journal of Central South University of Forestry & Technology, 32(6): 13-17. (in Chinese)
[44] Wiegand T, Moloney K A.2004. Rings, circles, and null-models for point pattern analysis in ecology. Oikos, 104(2): 209-229.
[45] Wu L C, Shinzato T, Kudo T, et al.2008. Characteristics of a 20-year-old evergreen broad-leaved forest restocked by natural regeneration after clearcut-burning. Annals of Forest Science, 65(5): 505.
[46] Wu Z Y.1980. Vegetation of China. Beijing: Science Press, 760-764. (in Chinese)
[47] Xu H C.1993. Chinese Pine. Beijing: China Forestry Press, 145-156. (in Chinese)
[48] Yamagawa H, Ito S, Nakao T.2008. Early establishment of broadleaved trees after logging of Cryptomeria japonica and Chamaecyparis obtusa plantations with different understory treatments. Journal of Forest Research, 13(6): 372-379.
[49] Yamagawa H, Ito S.2006. The role of different sources of tree regeneration in the initial stages of natural forest recovery after logging of conifer plantation in a warm-temperate region. Journal of Forest Research, 11(6): 455-460.
[1] Di KANG, Jian DENG, Xiaowei QIN, Fei HAO, Shujuan GUO, Xinhui HAN, Gaihe YANG. Effect of competition on spatial patterns of oak forests on the Chinese Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(1): 122-131.
[2] GUO Bing, ZHOU Yi, ZHU Jinfeng, LIU Wenliang, WANG Futao, WANG Litao, YAN Fuli, WANG Feng, YANG Guang, LUO Wei, JIANG Lin. Spatial patterns of ecosystem vulnerability changes during 2001–2011 in the three-river source region of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(1): 23-35.
[3] CHEN Hongwei, HU Yuanman, CHANG Yu, BU Rencang, LI Yuehui, LIU Miao. Changes of forest fire regime and landscape pattern under different harvesting modes in a boreal forest of Northeast China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(6): 841-851.
[4] WeiJun ZHAO, Yan ZHANG, QingKe ZHU, Wei QIN, ShuZhen PENG, Ping LI, YanMin ZHAO, Huan MA, Yu WANG. Effects of microtopography on spatial point pattern of forest stands on the semi-arid Loess Plateau, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(3): 370-380.
[5] YanYun LUO, TingXi LIU, XiXi WANG, LiMin DUAN. Influences of landform as a confounding variable on SOM-NDVI association in semiarid Ordos Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2012, 4(4): 450-456.
[6] BaoLin LI, QiMing ZHOU. Spatial pattern of land cover change in China’s semiarid environment[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2009, 1(1): 16-25.