Forest hydrology in China: introduction to the featured collection
Chinese people have long recognized the importance of forests and water in environment, societal development, and civilization. The philosophical thoughts are well reflected in many ancient paintings and stories that picture the harmony of forests, water, and mountains, and in fact, well-respected Chinese rulers are known for their contributions to harnessing large rivers such as the mighty Yellow and the Yangtze Rivers in China’s 5,000 years’ history. Unfortunately, China’s natural forests and water resources have been severely damaged in the past century due to overpopulation, years of wars, mismanagement and exploitative use, and global environmental change. As a result, China has suffered chronic environmental problems at the national scale, notably soil erosion, flooding, and water pollution and shortage in its recent history.