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China’s Fragile Forests
Natural forests cover about 10 percent of China, however few of these forests remain in a primary or pristine condition.
China’s forests are threatened primarily by timber collection, mining, unregulated harvesting of flora for traditional Chinese medicine and excessive development related to increased tourism. Reforestation efforts by authorities have also caused the proliferation of mono-culture forests, which have hampered forest recovery and negatively affected biodiversity.
In 2011, the UN’s official “International Year of Forests,” the forests of the southwest of China were classified by Conservation International as one of the world’s top ten most threatened forest regions.
This is the third chapter in a long-term body of work focusing on China’s environmental crises in the early 21st Century. The previous two chapters have focused on increasing desertification and on disappearing wetlands.
This work was funded by a travel grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Sean Gallagher is a British photojournalist, currently based in Beijing, China. Graduating in Zoology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England, his work now focuses on environmental issues in Asia, with specific emphasis on China.
He was the first recipient of the Emerging Photographers Fund in 2008 and is a 4-time recipient of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Travel Grant. His work has appeared with news outlets including Newsweek, the New York Times, Der Spiegel and National Geographic. His work on environmental issues in China was acknowledged as “some of the most striking images on display at the Copenhagen climate change conference”, by the BBC World Service in 2009.