Climate Change and Disasters

Analysis of forest damage caused by the snow and ice chaos along a transect across southern China in spring 2008

  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2010-02-28

  Revised date: 2010-08-02

  Online published: 2011-04-15

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40971281; International Science and Technology Cooperative Program of China, No.2006DFB91920; National Key Project of Scientific and Technical Supporting Programs, No.2006BAC08B00


An abrupt ice and snow storm disaster which occurred in the spring of 2008 severely destroyed forests over a surprisingly large portion of southern China. A transect crossing Jinggang Mountain-Jitai Basin-Yushan Mountain-Wuyi Mountain was selected as the study area. The authors integrated field data collected in two field surveys to analyze the impacts of the disturbance on forests. The following results were obtained. (1) The extent of damage to plantations along the transect decreased in the order of slash pine > masson pine > mixed plantation > Chinese fir. Slash pine is an introduced species from southern America which is characterized by fast growth, low wood quality and rich oleoresin, and showed a damage rate of 61.3% of samples, of which 70.4% cannot recover naturally. Masson pine is the native pioneer species of forests with harder wood, and 52.5% were damaged due to turpentine, of which 60.9% cannot recovery naturally. Chinese fir is a local tree species and samples showed a rate of 46% and a relative rate of 32.5%, lower than the mixed plantation. (2) From west to east along the transect, we can see that evergreen broad-leaved forest of the western transect on Jinggang Mountain showed the lightest damage extent, and a Cryptomeria plantation at an altitude of 700 m was severely destroyed while Chinese fir showed light damage below 700 m and relatively severe damage above 900 m. Masson pine and slash pine in the central transect in Jitai Basin were damaged severely due to turpentine activities, and closed natural secondary deciduous broad-leaved forest was damaged severely due to high ice and snow accumulation on intertwined shrubs. Masson pine aerial-seeding plantations below 400 m along the eastern transect in Xingguo and Ningdu counties were nearly undamaged for small tree sizes, and Chinese fir at 500-900 m altitude showed a lighter damage extent. However, masson pine which was distributed above 400 m and planted in the 1960s, was severely damaged due to turpentine.

Cite this article

SHAO Quanqin, HUANG Lin, LIU Jiyuan, KUANG Wenhui, LI Jia . Analysis of forest damage caused by the snow and ice chaos along a transect across southern China in spring 2008[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2011 , 21(2) : 219 -234 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0840-y


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