Vegetation Dynamics and Forest Landscape Restoration in the Upper Min River Watershed, Sichuan, China


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The Upper Min River (UMR) watershed, with an area of 23,000 km2 in the Upper Yangtze basin in Sichuan province, is ecologically and environmentally fragile. This situation is due to natural catastrophes and increasing anthropogenic disturbance. Forest cover has decreased dramatically, especially along the main Min River. Restoration of the vegetation in a watershed needs to consider the natural vegetation distribution and dynamics. In the UMR watershed, 625 sample plots were randomly placed to study the soil types, current vegetation distribution, vegetation dynamics, afforestation, and potential tree species for restoration. We investigated the relationship between vegetation types and soil orders, predicted the percentages of potential tree species for forest landscape restoration using logistic regression, identified priority areas for rapid restoration, and pinpointed areas for forest restoration where low precipitation is a constraint. The results showed that the vegetation types were well correlated with soil orders, and the latter could be used to deduce the potential vegetation for areas of degraded secondary forest. Priority areas for rapid restoration were demonstrated, and the difficult areas with precipitation as a limiting factor for vegetation restoration were specified. Suitable tree species were suggested for restoration on different soil orders at different elevations.