Project lists

Construction of Multifunction Forest Management Demonstration Sites - Phase II
25 Feb 2020     

Project Title

Construction of Multifunction Forest Management Demonstration Sites - 

Phase II

Supervisory Agency

Chifeng Forest Bureau, Inner Mongolia, China

Executing Agency

Wangyedian Forest Farm

Site Location

Wangyedian Forest Farm, Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China


Wangyedian: Ma Chenggong (

APFNet: Li Zhaochen (

Project Duration


Budget in USD (APFNet/total grant amount)

1,762,500 / 1,404,000


To build a demonstration site of sustainable forest management for China and Asia-Pacific with a focus on multifunctional forestry that integrates community participation, forest recreation and forest eco-tourism, and makes a contribution to the sustainable forest management in the Asia-Pacific region.

Expected Outputs

Demonstrate reforestation best practices on cut-over land, and close-to-nature forest management on natural secondary forests and plantations.

Develop a regional technical guideline on close-to-nature forest transformation of larch and Chinese pine plantations.

Expand the APFNet Multifunctional Forest Experience and Training Center to serve as an outreach and education platform on multifunctional forest management.

Improve the capacity of local communities and the forest farm on practicing sustainable forest management. 




 Wangyedian Forest Farm 


In the past decades China has made a name for itself as one of the economies with the largest reforestation programs globally. While the re-establishment of green cover in China is not finished, it is time to look beyond just planting trees. Both historical conditions as well as available knowledge and technologies have limited the silvicultural sophistication with which these forests could be re-established. As a result, China’s current planted forests are largely consisting of monocultures, with impeded ecosystem functions and limited biodiversity. Such is the case in Wangyedian Experimental Forest Farm in Inner Mongolia. Government authorities have recognized the need to introduce new management practices that value community participation and utilize multiple forest functions, to ensure the sustainable production and health of the forest.


In 2011, APFNet launched the first phase of the project: “Construction of Multifunctional Forest Management Demonstration” in Wangyedian Forest Farm, demonstrating a multi-functional forest management approach and exploring how economic, social and environmental benefits can be balanced and enhanced, both at the site and in the wider region. In 2016, APFNet extended this project to its second phase, and the objectives were expanded to demonstrate multifunctional forest restoration on a wider range of sites than before, including clear-cut forests and also young and middle-aged natural secondary forests. It also aims to test close-to-nature forest management on mature forests (previously done mostly in young and middle aged forests), focusing especially on soil and water conservation and increasing the overall carbon storage capacity of the forests. The second phase also aims to establish forest recreation areas and a forestry experience and training center, where education on multi-functional management, CFNM and forest rehabilitation can be provided. These facilities can be used to improve the capacities of local communities and forest farm employees on sustainable forest management, and also provide a space for learning for an international audience.


Promoting Sustainable Forest Management

Mixed species reforestation



Fig. 1-3 Forest restoration from bare land to green 


Since the founding of Wangyedian Forest Farm, reforestation has been a key focus. However, due to the situation at the time, including limited knowledge and technology, reforestation and afforestation was done quite traditionally. The landscape became green again, but monocultures occupy nearly 50% of the area, which has resulted in low biodiversity and a declining productivity.


Reforestation can be done in many different ways, during the first two years of this project mixed species reforestation on 667 ha of cut-over land in Wangyedian Forest Farm, Inner Mongolia, with three different approaches was conducted: (1) Reforestation with a mix of coniferous and local deciduous species, with the main purpose of producing high-quality timber; (2) combining nut trees with timber trees to provide short- and long-term products; (3) “recycling” seedlings by planting small seedlings very dense initially to achieve better growth form and later, instead of thinning them out, transplanting some to other reforestation sites; (4) reforestation focusing on maximizing recreational values by using especially colorful coniferous and broad-leaves species.


Close-to-Nature Forest Management

Close-to-Nature Forest Management (CNFM) principle was introduced to Wangyedian Forest Farm in the first phase project, and different CNFM techniques, such as target tree selection, cutting competitor trees, assisted natural regeneration or enrichment planting, were demonstrated. The main goal of applying CNFM in Wangyedian is to transform monocultures into multi-aged, diverse forests with a structural and species composition mimicking that of a natural forest in later successional stages.


In the second phase project, the CNFM method was further applied to young and middle-aged forests and mature plantations. Through thinning out the competitor trees in the over-dense young and middle-aged forests, the natural successional processes were accelerated to encourage a diverse and healthy regeneration which could improve the ecological functions of the forests. Enrichment planting was conducted in the mature forests after selective cutting of competitor trees in the mature forests. The forest types treated with CNFM method were specified as follow:


Forest type



Aspen (Populus davidiana) natural secondary forest

66.7 ha

young and mid-aged

Asian white birch (Betula platyphylla) natural secondary forest

66.7 ha

young and mid-aged

Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) and Mongolian scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) mixed plantations   

9.3 ha

young and mid-aged

Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) and Prince Ruprecht’s larch (Larix principis-ruprechtii) mixed natural secondary forest

13.3 ha

young and mid-aged

Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) plantations

60 ha

young and mature

Prince Ruprecht’s larch (Larix principis-ruprechtii) plantations

17.3 ha

young and mature


Forest Education and Ecotourism Development

With increasing prosperity, the immaterial benefits forests can bring are becoming more and more important. Forest recreation and eco-tourism thus do not only present new ways forests can benefit people, but also new sources of income and livelihoods.


Forest Experience and Forest Therapy Trail

In Wangyedian, ecotourism opportunities were recognized early on. While basic facilities were built under the support of APFNet project, in 2013 a 2.2km long forest trail was transformed into an educational and therapeutic forest experience trail. The trail is sub-divided into different themes, such as reforestation, forest biodiversity, forest products, close-to-nature forest management and forest therapy. In each theme, different facilities help tourists understand forests at a deeper level.



Fig. 4  Forest Therapy Facilities


Forest therapy, a concept that originated in Japan and was inspired by German practices, incorporates elements of mindfulness, a deepened communication with nature and the aim to experience one’s surroundings with all senses.   Wangyedian’s forest therapy part of the trail has been designed to experience the forest with all five senses. Special barefoot walking areas have been created, but also designated spots for meditation and breathing exercises.  


The cabins in the woods

“Forest experience” can of course be achieved by simply stepping inside a forest. Depending on the season and type it can draw visitors in immediately. At times, set and setting for this experience can be enhanced, however. Forests, for one, are often also cultural spaces. A creaky hanging bridge over a river, a left-behind water well, lonely cabins in the woods – these are things people connect to forests as much as the trees that make up the forest themselves. To create such an enhanced forest experience, APFNet created a number of facilities on a “forest recreation demonstration site”. This area is meant to be explored and discovered by tourists that chance upon it – like a surprise they did not expect.



APFNet Multifunctional Forest Experience and Training Center

The APFNet Multifunctional Forest Experience and Training Center, established and put into use in 2016, presents a major milestone in APFNet’s goal to enhance its capacity building efforts in Northern China. Only four hours away from the APFNet headquarter, it presents an ideal location – both immersed in nature and forests, but also close enough for international participants – to conduct workshops and conferences. The center, which can also provide limited accommodation, serves both as an outreach and educational platform to share best practices and lessons learned.


Fig. 7 APFNet Multifunctional Forest Experiment and Training Center



1. Location of Wangyedian Forest Farm



2. Map of Wangyedian Forest Farm


3. Wangyedian Brochure

4. Project Document 

5. Project Mid-term Evaluation Report