2015 年 60 巻 2 号 p. 1-17
From the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the main challenges with regard to forestry in China have been how to develop a forest management system to increase and conserve forests, and maintain their multiple services, particularly for the sake of land protection and future forest products. These forests already suffered severe damage during the long history of human development. One of the key players in developing a forest management system were the so-called forest professionals as well as the political leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While these professionals obtained and disseminated knowledge and technologies concerning forests and forestry through specialized education, some of them were promoted as forest bureaucrats by CCP leaders to support forest policies. Additionally, others were engaged in education and research as scientists, or practicing forest environment modifications in local communities as technicians or voluntary helpers.
Liang Xi (1883–1958) was appointed as the PRC’s first Minister of Forestry. He was the most typical and classic example of the professional forest bureaucrat. Before 1949, he studied modernized forestry in Japan and Germany and was working to disseminate it in China as a professor of forestry. In the process of international intellectual exchanges, Liang Xi and other professionals reaffirmed the significance of developing a forest management system to increase and conserve forests on a national level in China. This awareness was also shared by the political leaders of the time, such as Sun Yat-sen, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping.
This common awareness between professionals and political leaders was the main reason that Liang Xi was promoted to the highest forestry-related position in China in 1949. As the first Minister of Forestry, Liang Xi contributed to creating specialized governmental organizations to maintain and enhance the multiple services of forests. He also attached particular importance to the cultivation of forest professionals and set up forestry universities and other educational institutions in order to establish a base of human resources and social philosophy for sustainable forest management in China. The forest management system he led to establish was distorted by radical policy changes during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, but it was nevertheless passed on to Liang Xi’s followers as well as students from the universities and institutions Liang Xi had led to set up. These successors of Liang Xi would go on to bring back the forest management system after the 1980s, the period of economic reform and opening up of China to the outside world.
As a result of this historical background, we can see well-developed government organizations and educational institutions specializing in forest management in China nowadays. In addition, various types of forest professionals have emerged and supported this system as a human resource throughout the PRC period.