Assessing the management of moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) forests by collective economic organizations in Linan, Zhejiang Province, China

Assessing the management of Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) forests by collective economic organizations in Linan, Zhejiang Province, China.

Since the reform in property rights and opening up in 1980, Linan City has chosen to vigorously develop the bamboo industry from the very beginning to promote the transformation, development, and upgrading of the bamboo industry in the 21st century.[1] After more than 30 years of development and with the help of government and non-governmental organizations, the bamboo industry has been transformed from a pure resource-based focus to the identification of profitable forest-based commodities, from low yield to high yield, from low efficiency to high efficiency.[2] But in terms of the unique policy structure of China, the Linan county government cannot simply copy the successful model from other places. To consider more about the future, those authorities in Linan county need to find an approach that can be adapted to their environment as appropriate.

Linan city

Linan is one of 10 counties known as “bamboo counties” and is located in Zhejiang Province.[2] Linan city is located in the northwest of Zhejiang province, east longitude 118° 51 '~119° 52' n latitude 29° 56 '~30° 23'.[3] It is 100 kilometers from east to west and 50 kilometers from north to south, with a land area of 3,124 square kilometers and jurisdiction over 26 townships (town) streets.[3]

The climate is subtropical humid monsoon area, warm and humid, sufficient light, abundant rainfall, four distinct seasons.[3] The average annual precipitation is 1613.9 mm, with 158 precipitation days, and the average annual frost-free period is 237 days.[3] The territory is dominated by hills and mountains, the terrain from the west to the southeast tilt.[3]

The tenure development of Linan city was the same as the history of tenure in China. In the 1950s, China started the collectivization; the villages of China owned all the natural resources and land by themselves, and the government governed on their behalf until the 1980s.[4] After that, the forest tenure reform has been implemented under the “ household responsibility system.” As a result, individual households have obtained the use and management rights of collective-owned forests for 50-70 years.[4]

TimeLine of The Forest Tenure Reform in Linan

Year Events[5] Major Content[5]
1981-1982 "Three-fix" Policy The pilot project of “Three-fix” in forestry to stabilize the ownership of mountains and forests, delimit the private ownership of mountains by members, and implement the responsibility system for forestry production, kicked off the reform of collective forest ownership system
1990 Improve the mountain forest responsibility system In succession, the government has implemented a relatively large scale mountain forest contract to households and stable and improved the mountain forest responsibility system, to achieve mountain demarcation, forest rights, human centering, and mobilize the enthusiasm of farmers in the county.
2001 Extend the contract period of the forest, issued "forest warrant" work This is the provincial initiative to improve the reform of the forest rights system, played a significant role in increasing agricultural efficiency, farmer's income, rural stability.
2008 A new round of forest tenure reform Linan officially implemented a new round of reform with a bright property right as the core, standardized circulation as the focus, and forest right mortgage loan as the breakthrough.

Linan new century forest rights system reform

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Linan has made remarkable achievements in the reform of forestry property right system, mainly in the following three aspects:

  1. The area of clear property rights of collective forestland in the whole region reached 2.924 million mu, accounting for 76.5% of the forest area.[5] The number of households in the district has been confirmed 123,726, the rate of which is 98.6%; The number of license-issuing households has reached 121107, and the license issuing rate of forest certificates has reached 98%.[5] Linan has issued 28,510 copies of forest share certificate, benefiting 67,609 farmers.[5] Through the combination of computer network technology and registration information of forestry property rights, the modernization and networking of forest rights information has been realized, closely following the development of the Internet.
  2. Linan made every effort to expand channels for forestry investment and financing, improved the mechanism for the operation of forest mortgage loans, and made remarkable achievements in supporting reforms.[5] By the end of 2017, the total amount of forest mortgage loans had reached 1.2 billion yuan, and the balance of loans had reached 420 million yuan. There were six financial institutions involved in the loan, benefiting more than 6,800 rural households.[5] Such forestry mortgage mechanisms give local villagers more options in their development, turning forest rights into liquid cash and increasing their ability to withstand risks.
  3. A three-level linkage forest rights management service network system has been established, and a team of 269 village-level forest rights service informers has been set up.[5] The district rural property rights trading center has been established, and the forest rights transfer platform has been preliminarily built.[5] Through the establishment of various levels of forest rights service centers, Linan has provided convenient consultation and alteration services for local villagers.

Decision making structure

The structure of Linan Model Forest is similar to most other Model Forests, with a volunteer board of Directors representing the partners, and two secretariats overseeing the daily operations of the Model Forest.[6]

There are four executive members in the steering committee. the chair, the vice-chair  the Linan secretariat, and the assistant secretariat.[6] The China Model Forest Network Secretariat in Beijing is the ultimate authority in the Linan Model Forest organization.[6] The Beijing Secretariat consists of five employees and one Director; these are the only paid positions in the Linan Model Forest organization.[6] The CMFNS works to establish Model Forests in China, coordinate conferences and communication among other Model Forests, and compile the Linan Model Forest management plan.[6]

Formation of committee

The Linan Model Forest Partnership Cooperation Committee is dominated by government agencies. [6]Representation of NGOs and private interests is limited, while other groups, such as women’s organizations and environmental interest groups are conspicuously absent.[6] To a large extent, this is due to the nature of China’s current government structure. [6]“Private” and non-government, independent organizations have only recently been recognized and encouraged.[6] As over 80% of Linan residents live in rural regions, farmer participation is key to equal representation.[6] According to the Model Forest Chair, one third of the participants are farmers. However, these farmers include, among others, the Linglongshan forest farm manager and the Baisha village Communist Party leader.[6]

Management principles

These principles summarize the requirements and purpose of sustainable co-management which are scattered and embodied in this case study.[7]

  • Establishment of the Linan Model Forest Partnership Cooperation Committee, with over 33 partners or partner groups;
  • Recognition as one of China’s leading demonstration areas for sustainable forest management;
  • Development of 10 new ecotourism sites attracting more than 2 million visitors per year;
  • Training of more than 5 000 people-mainly local farmers-in the sustainable propagation of high-yield edible bamboo shoots and hickory farming techniques;
  • Review of forest policy changes and impacts on forest and land-use practices;
  • Active pursuit of networking opportunities and business linkages outside of China.

An affected stakeholder is defined as any person, group of persons or entity that is subject to the effects of the activities in a locally customarily-claimed forest area.

Affected Stakeholders Relative Objectives Power&Interests
Local farmers gaining higher, more diverse incomes

utilizing and protecting natural resources efficiently

high interests, medium power

Linan Model Forest Partnership Cooperation Committee unifying the management right

organizing the farmers to sell the bamboo with suitable price

high interests, high power

An interested stakeholder refers to any person, group of persons, or entity that has shown an interest, or is known to have an interest in the activities of a forest area.

Interested Stakeholders Relative Objectives[6] Power&Interests
Zhejiang A&F University giving the technology support to the local residents to maintain a sustainable situation

getting a long term opportunity to do scientific research in the Bamboo forest

convening agency; Forestry professor is Model Forest Assistant Secretariat.[6]

high interested, low power

Linan county government supporting the establishment of cooperation, assist the ongoing projects in the Bamboo forest

to make the farmers richer and the mountains greener

frames the political context for the Model Forest.[6]

high interests, high power

Governments of Japan and Canada buying the raw material and processed productions from Linan, this big bamboo production output area. But they can choose another provider. medium interests, low power
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

& International network for Bamboo and Rattan (NGOs)

giving money and technology to the local residents, guarantee to help the local farmers to maintain the sustainable management plan. high interests, low power
Qingfong Bamboo Products, Ltd

international links to improve the business;

Model Forest as a lobbying agency

manager is Model Forest Committee member.[6]

high interests, medium power

Linan Forestry Bureau commitment to participatory process; SFM with emphasis on farmers’ income convening agency; Model Forest Chair and secretariat are LFB staff members.[6]

high interests, high power

The success of Bamboo forest economic reform in Linan

Since the reform and opening up, Linan government has firmly chosen the bamboo industry as the main development direction of the local government. After years of development, the bamboo industry has been developed into the economic pillar industry of Linan.[1] The bamboo industry has helped local villagers in Linan increase their incomes to the greatest extent.[8]

The area of bamboo forest increased, the quantity of bamboo increased, and the processing scale of bamboo products increased. Led by low carbon ecological consumption, bamboo products become more abundant.[8] The main products of bamboo are bamboo flooring, bamboo curtain, bamboo carpet, bamboo daily necessities, bamboo crafts, bamboo rubber board, bamboo furniture, bamboo shoots, bamboo charcoal, bamboo fiber textile, and other products, which can be applied to almost every aspect of life.[8]

Existing problems

  • Lack of up-to-date knowledge of preservation of bamboo shoot

As the development of market economy, consumers have higher requirements for the quality of bamboo shoots. But the processing technology of bamboo shoots is still at the 1994 level.[9]

  • Lack of market for bamboo shoots

The majority of bamboo shoot market is still limited in the Hangzhou, Shanghai and Jiangsu area. The limited market cannot contain the massive output, which lead to the situation of supply exceeds demand. [9]

  • The low speed of information transmission lead to more surplus productions

Because of the small size of enterprises, which have backward approaches to get the information about the current market. At this condition, the last year’s experience become the main factor which influences local villagers to make their decision about how the scale of bamboo shoot productions.[9]

Development strategies

  • Enhance the governance of this industry, promote competition inside this industry

Organizing a consortia between those private workshops and factories, to make the competition more orderly. Firstly, giving the equally instant information about the market to the members. Secondly, coordinate the relationship between members and banks to get more financial support. Thirdly, reach an orderly competition contract that all members must abide.[9]

  • Broaden the sales channel of bamboo shoots

Promoting more output to America and Europe. Not only sale of those bamboo shot products, but also teach the local residents how to cook those bamboo shoots.[9]

  • Fetch in more experts in this field

Advising domestic forestry departments to investigate more into the research about bamboo shot production. Training more forestry experts to learn about the processing knowledge.[9]

It is true that the LInan villagers, government, and other non-governmental organization did a very great job during the whole developing period. But because of the large population base and unique political structure, there are some drawbacks that appeared in this period.

  • Bamboo products companies are characterized by low production, small scale, and scattered distribution.[8] Linan has no listed companies, enterprises between the union, merger, and reorganization difficulties.[8] In addition, the enterprise lacks a famous brand, the social influence is not big, and the area brand conformity is extremely difficult.[8] Bamboo industry brand in the national industry has a more significant influence, but in the whole society, in the international distance from the "brand" still has a considerable distance.[8]
  • forest-right mortgages provide villagers with a variety of options for forestry finance.[5] However, there is no clear legal basis for forest right assessment and loan recovery. Once the dispute about property rights occurs, it is difficult to find the solution from the legal provisions.
  • While their interests are being voiced, it did not seem that poorer, agriculture-reliant farmers were represented. In addition to unbalanced farmer representation, women representatives were almost entirely absent from the process.[6]
  • One of the major constraints to the effectiveness of the participatory process in Linan is the ability of the convenors and managers to facilitate discussions. Success is often contingent on the governing institutions.[6]
  • The use of a western participatory technique is new to government officials, accustomed to decades of top-down decision-making. The lack of training for those convening and running the Lin’an Model Forest (CMFNS and Steering Committee members), especially in facilitation techniques and consensus building, has resulted in a weak process and a weak organization.[6]
  • By maintaining the traditional hierarchy it is difficult for less powerful participants to contribute to or challenge the process. This is exacerbated by a biased facilitator the Committee Chairman and CMFN Secretariat Chair ran the stakeholder meetings. As a result, “not everyone had the chance to speak, just the key people such as the Qtngfongfactory manager and the Linglong Forest Farm manager”[6]

Aiming at the current state of governance, some recommendations for Linan government and Linan villagers.

  • Linan government should introduce policies to support the development of local bamboo industry companies. Furthermore, encourage local farmers to develop a variety of production methods to improve their productivity.
  • Linan government has been very active in the reform of forest rights, providing a variety of help to local farmers. In the next stage, they should focus on supporting enterprises and increasing tax revenues.
  • The reflection between Naidu and Linan to the unfeasible management structure is very different. Naidu villagers chose to organize their own management plan which can have the same view as the local farmers. But Linan farmers chose to adhere to the current government situation and do nothing to chase for further development. It is better for the local farmers to learn how to use this government structure to get more power and more profits. The local farmers need more rules that are recognized by the public to help them organize the community in an orderly and structured manner.
  • there should be equality in the decision-making process. All representatives should be given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion, and have their views meaningfully incorporated in the final decision.
  1. 1.01.1 Wang, A. G. (2000). Develop Three Kinds of Bamboo Industries Concurrently, Make Mountain Area Rich, and Bamboo Shoulders Half of the Task-- Review and Prospects of Bamboo Development in Linan City. Journal of Bamboo Research, 19-3(2000), pp. 48-52. Retrieved from:
  2. 2.02.1 Zhu, Z. (1997). Participatory forestry in China. International. Retrieved from:
  3. Zhang, K. K., Shen, Z. M., He, J. C., Zhu, W., Li, G. D., & Lin, X. C. (2014, April 24). Investigation and analysis on management status of Lei zhu forest in Linan city. Journal of Fujian Forestry Science and Technology, 01(2016). Retrieved from:
  4. 4.04.1 He, M., Wu, Z., Li, W., & Zeng, Y. (2015). Forest Certification in Collectively Owned Forest Areas and Sustainable Forest Management: A Case of Cooperative-Based Forest Certification in China. Small-Scale Forestry, 14(2), pp. 245–254. Retrieved from
  5. The Forest Sector of Linan. (2018, December 21). Linan Deepened Reform of The Tenure System for Collective Forests over The Past 40 Years. Linan Today. Retrieved from:
  6. Stewart, J.C. (2002) Participatory decision-making in forest management: a case study of the Lin’an Model Forest. Retrieved from
  7. Linan county: a model for the future. Retrieved from:
  8. Xv, D. B. (2014). Analysis on The Development of Bamboo Industry in Zhejiang Province. Chinese Business Update, 16(2014), pp. 46. Retrieved from:
  9. Wang, A.G. (1999) Bamboo shoot processing and its development countermeasures in Lian city. Journal of bamboo research 18(4) : 54-57. Retrieved from

Seekiefer (Pinus halepensis) 9months-fromtop.jpg
This conservation resource was created by Weijun Li & Pinyi Fu. It is shared under a CC-BY 4.0 International License.

Post Image Credit: Daderot, Phyllostachys edulis – Trebah Garden – Cornwall, England – DSC01446, CC0 1.0