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Journal of Arid Land  2022, Vol. 14 Issue (8): 837-848    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0069-x
Review article     
Formation mechanisms and remediation techniques for low-efficiency artificial shelter forests on the Chinese Loess Plateau
WANG Yaobin, SHANGGUAN Zhouping()
State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
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The construction of artificial shelter forests (ASFs) has resulted in substantial ecological, economic, and societal benefits to the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). However, the health and benefits of ASFs are being increasingly threatened by the formation of low-efficiency artificial shelter forests (LEASFs). In this study, LEASFs are systematically analyzed in terms of their status, formation mechanisms, and developmental obstacles. The key restoration techniques and schemes were summarized to improve the quality and efficiency of LEASFs. LEASFs are formed by relatively complex mechanisms, but they arise mainly due to poor habitat conditions, improper tree species selections, mismatch between stands and habitat, extensive forest management measures, and human interferences. The restoration and improvement of LEASFs are hindered by water deficits, mismatch between stands and habitat, single management purpose, and low efficiency. LEASFs are becoming more complex due to their wide range, the challenges associated with their restoration, and insufficient technological measures for their restoration. The key techniques of the quality and efficiency improvement of LEASFs include basic forest tending methods, near-natural restoration, multifunction-oriented improvement, and systematic restoration. An understanding on the formation mechanisms of LEASFs and a scientific approach toward their restoration are urgently needed and critical for the ecological protection and high-quality development of LEASFs on the CLP. Based on these analyses, we recommend strengthening the monitoring and supervision of LEASFs, considering the bearing capacity of regional water resources, implementing multiple restoration techniques, promoting multifunction-oriented ecological development, and exploring new management concepts to achieve the sustainable development of ASFs on the CLP.

Key wordslow-efficiency artificial shelter forests      restoration      forest management      multifunctional forestry      near-natural forestry      Three-North Shelter Forest      Chinese Loess Plateau     
Received: 17 January 2022      Published: 30 August 2022
Corresponding Authors: SHANGGUAN Zhouping     E-mail:
Cite this article:

WANG Yaobin, SHANGGUAN Zhouping. Formation mechanisms and remediation techniques for low-efficiency artificial shelter forests on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(8): 837-848.

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Fig. 1 Formation mechanisms and performance types of low-efficiency artificial shelter forests (LEASFs) on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP)
Fig. 2 Analyses of the status of degraded artificial shelter forests (ASFs) on the CLP in 2017. (a), the proportions of different degrees of degraded shelter forests: severely degraded, moderately degraded, and mildly degraded; (b), the proportions of degraded ASFs in different growth indicators: crown density, coverage, density (the ratio of preserving plants to afforestation design plants), and biomass; (c), the proportions of areas of different forest types: farmland shelter forest, soil and water conservation forest, and windbreak and sand fixation forest; (d), the proportions of different influencing factors to forest degradation: human interferences, habitat conditions, disasters, physiological maturity, and species selection; (e), the proportions of degraded (severely degraded, moderately degraded, and mildly degraded) and normal forests in different regions on the CLP: Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi Province, Shaanxi Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Gansu Province, and Qinghai Province. The data are from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China (2017).
Fig. 3 Framework diagram for the quality and efficiency improvement of LEASFs on the CLP. This Figure is referenced and modified from Wang et al. (2021).
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