Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2022, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (1): 100-106.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2022.01.011

• Restoration Ecology and Ecological Engineering • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Considerations of Forest Distribution and Native Tree Species for Afforestation in the High Altitudes on the Eastern Tibetan Plateau

SHI Peili1,2,*(), ZHENG Lili1,3, ZHOU Tiancai1,2, HOU Ge1,2, ZHAO Guangshuai4   

  1. 1. Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
    3. School of Life Science, Taizhou University, Taizhou, Zhejiang 318000, China
    4. China National Forestry-Grassland Economics and Development Research Center, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing 100714, China
  • Received:2021-08-08 Accepted:2021-11-02 Online:2022-01-30 Published:2022-01-08
  • Contact: SHI Peili
  • Supported by:
    The National Natural Science Foundation of China and ICIMOD Joint Research Project(41661144045)


Forests are the main components of terrestrial ecosystems and play an important role in the protection and construction of the national ecological security barrier. For a long time, China's large-scale afforestation had been practiced in areas with rainfall higher than the 400 mm threshold, but the issue of afforestation in high altitudes on the Tibetan Plateau remains elusive in both practical experience and theoretical exploration. It is worth thinking further about what principles should be followed in the selection of tree species and suitable altitudes for afforestation in high-altitude areas, as well as what experiences and lessons of previous afforestation efforts should be applied in high-altitude areas. As per the law of vegetation zonal distribution, this paper argues that afforestation at high altitudes should comply with the principle of vegetation zonal distribution and the low temperature limitation, and points out that afforestation is feasible only within the forest distribution area and below the altitudes of climate timberlines. Furthermore, we demonstrate the potential spatial areas of afforestation, and determine the local tree species that may be used for afforestation based on the existing problems of afforestation in eastern Tibet. In summary, afforestation in high-altitude areas of the eastern Tibetan Plateau must comply with the law of zonal vegetation distribution, focus on the upper limit of altitude and the selection of suitable tree species, and adopt only suitable native tree species.

Key words: eastern Tibetan Plateau, natural forest distribution, climatic treeline, low-temperature limitation, afforestation upper limit, afforestation species selection