This article was originally published on Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
“Nearly 20 years after devastating floods hit China’s Yangtze and Yellow River basins, the landscape has been transformed. Deforestation on the steep hillsides set in train a perfect storm of events in 1998 when drought was followed by heavy rains. Thousands of people lost their lives and at least 13.2 million people were displaced, amid widespread erosion damage.
The Chinese Government responded swiftly, setting up the Conversion of Cropland to Forests Program (CCFP), the world’s largest payment for ecosystem services reforestation initiative. Since 1999, upstream farmers have restored 30 million hectares of sloping lands with trees and grasses in 25 Chinese provinces, in exchange for seeds, training and subsidies to cover lost farm income.
As countries around the world rise to the Bonn Challenge of restoring 150 million hectares of forest by 2020, China’s experience holds valuable lessons on how to attain global targets while safeguarding rural livelihoods.
In 2016, as part of the DfID KNOWFOR-funded Sloping Lands in Transition (SLANT) project on forest landscape restoration, CIFOR brought together Chinese, Nepali, Ethiopian and global researchers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Beijing, China to share insights from the CCFP, Nepal’s community forestry initiatives, and Ethiopia’s experiences with exclosures and participatory restoration models…”