Research ArticleECOSYSTEMS

Effects of conservation policy on China’s forest recovery

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Science Advances  18 Mar 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 3, e1500965
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500965

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  • Response to Pang et al. (May 2016)

    We appreciate Pang et al.’s interest in our article, and wholeheartedly agree with their main point: better information will lead to a better understanding of the effectiveness of China’s efforts to increase forest cover across the country. We thank them for their comments on our study. However, in some important aspects they have misinterpreted our results and overstated the limitations of our approach.

    Pang et al. state that “MODIS lacks the spatial resolution to accurately evaluate changes in forest cover to the degree required to draw the desired conclusions”. They then suggest that the use of “Landsat data at 30x30 m pixel resolution would generate more accurate forest cover data compared to the authors’ analysis with MODIS”. While we agree that the MODIS-derived vegetation continuous fields (VCF) tree cover product may not be able to detect all afforestation/deforestation processes occurring on the ground due to its coarser spatial resolution (something we stated in our article), we do not agree that the use of Landsat data is necessarily more accurate simply by virtue of its finer spatial resolution. It is important to avoid conflating greater spatial precision with higher accuracy. Previous work has demonstrated that the use of high spatial resolution data can in fact reduce the accuracy of land change models, as there are more opportunities for error (1). Furthermore, the MODIS sensors collect data at a considerabl...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Effects of Conservation policy on China's forest recovery
    • Yong Pang, Institute of Forest Resource Information Techniques, Chinese Academy of Forestry
    • Other Contributors:
      • Guangyu Wang, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
      • Shari Lynn Mang, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
      • Zhongqi Xu, College of Forestry Agriculture University of Hebei
      • Hongbo Zhai, Chinese Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning
      • Zhijian Yang, College of Forestry, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University
      • John L. Innes, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia

    Comment on “Effects of conservation policy on China’s forest recovery”
    Yong Pang1, Guangyu Wang2, Shari L. Mang2, Zhongqi Xu3, Hongbo Zhai4, Zhijian Yang5, and John L. Innes1*

    1Institute of Forest Resource Information Techniques, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing China
    2Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    3College of Forestry Agriculture University of Hebei, Baoding, China
    4Chinese Academy of Forestry Inventory and Planning, Beijing, China
    5College of Forestry, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University

    Vina et al. (Reports, 18 March 2016) use MODIS VCF to assess change in forest cover in China in an attempt to verify government statistics regarding forest cover and to evaluate the effectiveness of the government’s Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP). However, they fail to verify their data against the government’s own data in a quantitative way, and their evaluation of NFCP ignores the five other forest conservation programs run simultaneously by the government. Furthermore, they use a limited number of parameters to evaluate success and rely on MODIS, which lacks the spatial resolution to address the authors’ objectives.

    The authors aim to verify Chinese government statistics on forest recovery, an element they correctly highlight as being crucial in ensuring reliable and transparent information for conservation and climate change action; however, this verification is no...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
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