International concerns about greenhouse gases and threats to biodiversity, as well as regional concerns about water supply, erosion control, watersheds, and local economic well-being make the study of forest policy more important than ever before. Understanding the factors that affect the forest environment in China, the country with the world's largest population and one of its most dynamic economies, is a critical step toward improving the long-term welfare of the global community. This is the first book to comprehensively evaluate the effects of forest policy as it has followed or extended from agricultural, trade, and other reforms that began in 1978. Among the issues it addresses are the pressures exerted by the growing economy on the forest environment, the environmental effects of extractive activities, the property rights arrangements that have fostered the most sustainable management practices, and the contribution that forestry can make as an agent of development. China's Forest Policy pays particular attention to China's successful use of economic incentives. As a laboratory for policy reforms, the geographic breadth of China, the diversity of its forest environments, and its extensive record of policy experimentation provides a rich supply of contrasting examples and statistically meaningful results. The analysis of these results offers important lessons for future policy reform in China and in almost every other nation in the world.