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Table of Contents:

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In total land mass, China is the third largest country in the world--with a population of over 1.3 billion citizens. China also has over 160 million hectares of forestland and over 800 nature reserves. China is one of the world's five largest wood producing countries--with two-thirds of its production being consumed as fuel.

The climate and geography of China make it a unique place for biodiversity--home to first-class protected animals and plants such as the giant panda, hair-crest deer, White-lip deer, China fir, Chinese cypress gingko, and alder. China's temperature ranges from tropical to subartic, thus, the mountains, deserts, plains, and deltas provide a variety of habitats for plants and animals.

Threats to the Forests
China faces increasing threats from population growth, which include deforestation, air and water pollution and the steady fall of the water table. Only 16 percent of China's land area remains in forest and woodland, while 43 percent is permanent pasture and 10 percent is arable land. However, timber harvesting has ceased in the wake of logging ban in 1998.

Why Does the US Forest Service Work in China?
As a major exporter of a wide variety of products and because of biological and geological similarities, China and the United States have the potential to share unwanted species. Therefore, by working with China we can address mutual invasive species problems. From beech bark scale to Asian longhorned beetles--fungi, insects and plants can have severe impacts on the forests of United States and China.

Over the past years, the US Forest Service has been working on several enterprise projects in China. The US Forest Service Forest Health Technology Team and International Programs have been working with counterparts at the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the US Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to control the Asian longhorned beetle. The Forest Health Technology Team, supported by International Programs also initiated a cooperative effort with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing to survey for natural enemies of mile-a-minute weed.

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Russia-China: Illegal Logging Transboundary Trade

In cooperation with the US State Department, USAID, and other non-governmental organizations, the US Forest Service is arranging workshops and training in Far Eastern Russia to address the large volume of illegally sourced timber and associated forest products flowing into China from Russia . The intention is to promote trans-boundary cooperation on the legal sourcing of timber.

The workshops and training, to be held in 2006 and 2007, will afford government and business representatives from the two countries an opportunity to become familiar with “best practices” for companies to promote legal and sustainable timber harvesting, and improve their understanding of the changing forest laws relevant to trans-boundary timber trade. Russian and Chinese business leaders will exchange experiences and discuss sustainable forest management practices. In particular, they will share information about the traceability of timber in cross-border trade, development of private sector independent verification systems, improved information flow and transparency, and the strengthening of public-private sector cooperation.

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Forest Health/Invasive Species

Mile-a-Minute Weed
Mile-a-minute weed (Polygonum perfoliatum L.) is an invasive weed indigenous to Asia. In 1946, it was found growing in a neglected nursery in Pennsylvania. Prior to 1980, mile-a-minute weed's known area of infestation was limited to five counties in Pennsylvania. This weed has now become established in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. From 1997 through 2002, weed population surveyed through China, and 111 insect species were collected and identified. Among the insect species, a weevil (Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev) was regarded as the most promising agent. Three leaf beetles, Smaragdina nigrifrons, Gallerucida bifasciata, and Galerucella placida were dominant at most survey sites, which impacted the growth and reproduction of the weed. There will be further evaluation of a bug (Cletus schmidti) and a sawfly (Allantus nigrocaeruleus) for their host specificity. From 2000 through 2004, R. latipes was shipped into a quarantine facility in Delaware for further host range testing. In 2004, R. latipes was reared at the University of Delaware and released in New Jersey and Delaware based on the Technical Advisory Group's recommendation. Survey for natural enemies and host range testing are also conducting in Japan.

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Kudzu is an aggressive invasive weed in the United States. It has been distributed from Massachusetts to Florida, and west to Oklahoma and Texas (Frankel 1989, Mitich 2000), with recent spot distributions in Oregon. This perennial, semi-woody, climbing leguminous vine is native to China and pervasive in most parts of the country. It is considered a useful plant (e.g., forage, food, medicine, and craft culture).

Kudzu was originally introduced into the United States from Japan in 1876 as an ornamental vine at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (Winberry and Jones, 1973), then as a forage crop at the beginning of the 20th century (Piper, 1920). However, widespread distribution of kudzu did not occur until the 1930's and 1940's when it was promoted to control soil erosion, especially in Piedmont regions of Alabma, Georgia and Mississippi (Tabor and Sussot 1941). By 1953, it was recognized as a weed, and removed from the list of species recommended for use. In 1970, it was listed as a common weed in the southeastern United States (Everest et al. 1999), and finally in 1998, kudzu was listed as a federal noxious weed by the U.S. Congress (Mitich 2000). Today, estimates of the total kudzu infestation vary considerably from several hundred thousand acres to over 10 million acres with most recognized around 7 million acres (Fears and Frederick 1977, Miller and Edwards 1983, Everest et al. 1991, Corley et al. 1997, Britton et al. 2000, Mitich 2000) and keep spreading. Kudzu is widely believed to drastically reduce biodiversity due to its ability to smother other vegetation and exist as a monoculture. It is recognized that the lack of natural enemies has contributed to the spread of kudzu, as it has a very rich complex of natural enemies in its native range (Pemberton 1989).

Kudzu is now widely considered as one of the important invasive weed in the United States. Various management and eradication programs have been explored to control the spread of kudzu, from intensive herbicide application (Miller and Edwards 1983), to livestock grazing (Martin 1984, Bonsi et al. 1992), to industrial use of the plant (Tanner et al. 1979), and recent attempt to control with the plant pathogen ( Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola), but none have shown lasting results.

As an invasive weed, biological control of kudzu naturally comes into mind but has only recently been considered as a possible management strategy. Kudzu appears to be a good candidate for a classical biological control project since this naturalized weed appears to lack natural enemies capable of lowering its pest status in the United States (Britton et al. 2000). However, little is known about insects feeding on kudzu since it is considered a common weed in its native range and the focus on how to utilize it and its growth and ecology (Zhang 1987, Shao 1993, An et al. 1996, Zhang and Ye 1990, Chen and Zhang 1985, Yang et al. 1996, Tandon et al. 1979). A work by Tayutivutikul and Kusigemati (1991) reported a general list of insects associated with kudzu in Japan. Previously Tayutivutikul and Yano (1990, 1989) studied biology of 2 kudzu feeding insects, Megacopta punctissimum (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) and Chauliops fallax (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Tsuimakawa (1986 ) reported insects feeding on kudzu seeds including pryalid moth, a bruchid beetle and a Lygaeid bug. Besides, six fungi diseases were reported, mostly in China (Jiang et al. 2000, Zidack and Backman 1996). Thornton (2000) surveyed insects feeding on Kudzu foliage, vines, roots, and seeds in North Carolina. Pemberton (1989, 1996) reported an abundance of natural enemies of kudzu in China and Asia and believed a good potential exist for controlling kudzu in the United States. Other concerned scientists who visited China (DeLoach, Markin, Schiff, personal communications) agreed and encouraged the initiation of a biological control research program.

A cooperative program funded by the US Forest Service was initiated in 1999 to survey the natural enemies of kudzu for potential of biological control of kudzu in the United States. Surveys were focused in Anhui Province, China because a climatic matching indicated it was the area most similar in climate to Atlanta, Georgia, 2 systematic survey sites therefore were established, one is in Qinshan, south of Yangtze River which distinctly delinerate fanua and flora in China. This site was surveyed consecutively for 4 years and another site is in Xuancheng, north of Yangtze River. Both sites are in the mountain region as the most kudzu distribution occurs in mountain region in China because of intensive farming. Surroundings of those two sites are pine plantations. A third survey site was established in Guangdong Province in 1999 and this site was survey for 2 years as supplementary since it is much further south, and consequently warmer comparing to Anhui mountain sites. The site is located in an agricultural land but mixed with pine plantation. In 2000, a site in Shaanxi Province was added to the survey because significant defoliation and root damage were observed previously. This site is also located in forested region with pines and broadleaved trees.

At each site, five root crowns of kuzdu were randomly selected for sampling. Each root crown was marked with a stake placed near the root crown. A circle of colored tape and a sign was placed around each root crown, in order to prevent disturbance by human activities and to mark for easy finding. At each sampling time, surveyor followed the same path to avoid trampling and damaging the vines lying on the ground. The sites were surveyed for 1 to 3 consecutive years (1999-2001) for insect feeding, mating, biology, species, insect collection, etc. at 10-20 day intervals from May to November. Collection of kudzu-feeding insects was conducted by hand-picking, aspirated from kudzu plants, net sweeping and caging and rearing in some cases. When immature insects were found, they were collected in a plastic bag together with tissue they were feeding, and then taken back to the laboratory for rearing. The seasonal abundance was also recorded. Over the five years about 200 natural enemies were collected in China. Preliminary host range testing has been conducted on many of the species, and several showed host specific. In 2004 surveys for natural enemies and preliminary host range testing continued in China and surveys initiated for natural enemies in Japan.

A chrysomelid beetle, Gonioctena tredecimmaculata, has been shipped from China and is currently being evaluated as a biological control agent of kudzu in the quarantine facility in Newark, Delaware. As larvae and adults, this beetle rapidly and exhaustively consumes new foliage produced by the plant. G. tredecimmaculata is ovoviviparous, has a high reproductive rate and short development time, and exhibits an obligate diapause. While these characters make G. tredecimmaculata a good candidate for biological control of kudzu, host specificity tests show that this insect can feed on soybean and hogpeanut (a native legume). Future work will focus on the ability of G. tredecimmaculata to complete its life cycle on these and other host plants, since reproduction of naive, second generation beetles was not observed (pers. comm. with Matthew Frye and Judith Hough-Goldstein).

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White Pine Blister Rust

For more information on white pine blister rust:

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Related Publications

Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network newsletter:



Insect Book
In 1991, the book "Forest Insects of China", 2nd edition (ed. by Xiao, Gangrou) was printed in Chinese and continues to be the most valuable publication that includes information on 824 forest insect species in 141 families of 13 orders. It was written by many forest entomologists in various universities and institutes. It includes distribution, host range, morphology, biology and line drawings for each species, control methods including rearing and utilization of natural enemies at the end of families or genera concerned. This book was first published in 1980, and includes 444 forest insects, 31 natural enemies, 7 economic important insects, and 10 mites. The second edition added 402 insects in 44 families of 2 orders, and also corrected the errors and deleted some insects that have uncertain taxonomy occurred in the first edition. This book became to the most referable source of information recently since invasive species has become an important issue in the United States (e.g. Asian Long-horned Beetle, Emerald Ash Borer). These data in English need to be provided to pest managers in North America and other English readers.

Two meetings for initiating the project were held in Beijing in August 2004. The participants included Dr. Xiao Gangrou, retired professor from the Chinese Academy of Forestry, and other cooperators from the Chinese Forestry Administration, the China Forestry Publishing House, the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the US Forest Service-Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. The major focus during the next three years (January 2005 - December 2007) will be: 1) Update the technical information concerning major forest insects that appeared in the Chinese version of the 1991 publication "Forest Insects of China" and collected during the forest pest survey during 2004; 2) Review the accuracy of the manuscript both English grammatically and technically; and 3) Publish new versions (English book and English CD) of the "Forest Insects of China".

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Disease Book
There is a lack of background information about Asian forest diseases, which makes them difficult to identify and manage upon introduction into North America. In 1982, the book "China Forest Diseases" was printed in Chinese and continues to be the most valuable publication that includes information on 119 forest diseases. It was written by 13 forest pathologists in various universities and institutes. It includes distribution, causal agent, biology, host range, dispersal, control, and colored drawings of each disease. Since printing of the book, 20-years ago, additional information has been gathered using new technology concerning previously described diseases as well as the discovery/documentation of new diseases and these data need to be provided to pest managers in both China and North America.

This project was initiated in 2003 under a cooperative agreement among The China Forestry Publishing house, US Forest Service-Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, and -International Programs. The major focus during the three years (January 2003 - December 2005) will be: 1) Update the technical information concerning 119 forest diseases that appeared in the Chinese version of the 1982 publication "China Forest Diseases;" 2) Acquire technical information on other diseases of forests not included in the 1982 publication; 3) Provide information on distribution in Asia (with map for China); center of origin; causal pathogen; diagnosis; host list; damage and economic importance; biology; dispersal and potential pathways of introduction; control methods including biological and chemical control, as well as disease resistance; and colored photos of disease symptoms; and 4) Publish new versions (both Chinese and English) of "China Forest Diseases" including about 200 forest diseases.

The manuscript for the Chinese version was completed in August 2004, and it is in the process of translation into English.

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Forest Management

Code of Harvesting Practices
The Chinese State Forestry Administration with some support from the US Forest Service has a project to develop and test codes of forest harvesting practices that can help lead to improved forest management in China. The International Labor Organization in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization provided funding for the initial development phase. The US Forest Service provided harvesting specialists to comment on the draft codes of practice and some funding in the development phase and plans to continue to provide technical assistance. The State Forestry Administration is currently in the process of institutionalizing the codes and developing awareness and training in the implementation of the Codes of Practices. The Codes are important even though China has a logging ban in place because there are still many areas excluded from the ban (plantations). Secondly, there is some discussion to allow timber harvesting in restricted areas and the Code can provide the basis for better practices.

As part of the development and implementation of the Codes, in September, 2004, the US Forest Service hosted two State Forestry Administration staff to gather information on how to train and bring greater awareness to implementing these best management practices. The two meet with Universities, the timber industry, non-governmental organizations and the US Forest Service.

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Forest Health and Restoration

RESTORING HEALTHY FOREST ECOSYSTEMS IN CHINA--A Chinese State Forestry Administration Project in Collaboration with the US Forest Service and Memphis Zoo


The Chinese State Forestry Administration is quickly moving from a philosophy of a planned quantity-based forest management system to one that also considers quality. This has meant taking a broader more comprehensive perspective in their management practices. One of the primary indications of their commitment to this shift is the logging ban they instituted in 1998. Initially, it banned timber harvesting in over 80 percent of their natural forests within six months. Additionally, the Chinese government implemented large-scale restoration projects for both natural forests and conversion of steep farmland back into forests. Today the ban affects almost 70 percent of all the natural forests in China. Although China has made great strides in increasing their forest cover, they were spending significant resources to manage pests and other environmental stresses yet not obtaining the goods and services they expected from their forests due primarily to unhealthy forests.

Healthy forests are essential if they are to provide the goods and services demanded by humans and other biological systems. A healthy forest is one that can tolerate changes and stresses such as drought, pests, and fire yet still maintain a steady flow of quality water, timber, habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities, and other diverse needs. Generally, the optimal strategy for healthy forests is to maintain or create the natural ecosystem of the local forest that includes the original suite of plants and animals, and aboitic components. Many times this is not possible, so other strategies need to be employed, trying to replicate the natural ecological functions and not necessarily the original ecosystem.

One major challenge is to first determine if the existing condition of a particular forest can be practically maintained or converted back to its natural ecosystem in a relatively short time period. If this is not possible, then other strategies and/or intermediate steps need to be employed so surrogate environments are established that come close to emulating the ecological functions that were once present.

The State Forestry Administration in collaboration with the US Forest Service, the Memphis Zoo, and others are beginning a project that will look at various strategies and practices that can be implemented to facilitate and restore healthy forests in the most sound and efficient way. The approach is to start with five areas with different conditions and needs. Primarily working at the village or farmer level, the project will explore various treatments to move or maintain the forest areas towards a more healthy state while having a strong consideration for the needs and livelihoods of the local villagers and farmers. Assuming the demonstrations are successful, the State Forestry Administration intends to expand this process in other areas throughout China.

Manage healthy forests, which help to sustain China's forest resources, society, and economy.


  • Develop sound forest management plans that optimize the balance between maintaining the forest resource base and demands on put on those resources.
  • Implement forest practices that promote the desired conditions as described in the forest management plans.

Timeline and Accomplishments

  • 2000 - the State Forestry Administration and the US Forest Service begin discussion for the project.
  • 2001 - The US Forest Service hosted the first Chinese team to the U.S. to view forest management practices and to begin discussions on forest health. The Memphis Zoo joins the partnership.
  • 2001 - Four sites identified:
    Guiyang (Guizhou)
    Lijinag (Yunnan)
    Xinfong (Jiangxu)
    Foping (Shanxii)
  • 2001 - Staff from the State Forestry Administration and the US Forest Service visited two of the preliminary four sites (Foping and Guiyang). Memphis Zoo staff participated in the visit to the Foping site. Suggestions were made to the local forest bureau staff on the kinds of specific sites to select.
  • 2002 - Sites begin to draft management plans
  • 2002 - The Memphis Zoo and the US Forest Service again hosted a team from China. The focus was on industrial forest management and how it could co-exist with management for multiple resources.
  • 2002 - The State Forestry Administration with support from the US Forest Service and Memphis Zoo hosted a workshop titled "Forest Health and Restoration." It was preceded with field visits to the demonstration sites to help facilitate discussion. Participants heard of ongoing efforts in forest health and restoration in the United States from both a government and industry perspective. Participants also heard of the situation and plans for each of the demonstration sites. This background was followed by discussions and comments on the plans for the demonstration sites.
  • 2003 - A fifth site was added to the project in Beijing
  • 2003 - Sites continued to refine their management plans and begin to implement activities under the plan.
  • 2003 - The Forest Service hosted a team from China. The focus for this study tour was on partnerships and watershed management.

Future Plans and Focus Areas

The Forest Service and its partners plan to continue to provide technical advice and other information to the Chinese in this project on forest health and restoration. This will be accomplished through exchange visits, workshops and studies.

Partners (US Forest Service and Memphis Zoo and others) with the State Forestry Administration will find ways to continue to support the Forest Health and Restoration Project with limited financing and more importantly, technical assistance and advice. The approach will be adaptive to the needs of the demonstration sites and resources at hand.

Chinese State Forestry Administration
Afforestation Department
Contact: Wei Diansheng

US Forest Service
International Programs
Contact Gary Man

Memphis Zoo
Contact: John Ouellette

Relevant Websites

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