Asia Society's China Green project released its latest video about China's environment this week. Entitled "China's Fragile Forests," the six-minute short was produced by China-based multimedia journalist Sean Gallagher, who Asia Blog readers might remember from his work documenting threats to China's wetlands and panda population.
Natural forests cover about 10 percent of China’s surface area, but few of the forests remain in a primary or pristine condition. These forests are threatened primarily by timber collection, mining, unregulated harvesting of flora for traditional Chinese medicine and excessive development related to increased tourism.
In China’s southern provinces, the mountainous forests that previously covered much of the region have been reduced by about 92 percent.
It is these forests which are home to last of the Giant Pandas, which number only approximately 1600 in the the wild. Progressive habitat destruction has pushed China’s most famous species to the brink of extinction.
In 2011, the UN’s official “International Year of Forests,” the forests of the southwest of China were classified by Conservation International as one of the world’s top ten most threatened forest regions.
"China's Fragile Forests" includes interviews with Feng Jie, Suchuan Project Coordinator for Shan Shui NGO; Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations; and Dr. Qi Dunwu, Head of Animal Behavior at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center.