Sunday, 29 March 2015


A view of a pristine forest landscape in China.  After the establishment of the Chinese People's Republic in 1949 large scale afforestation activities by co-operatives and communes were encouraged and this set of stamps of 1958 called  "Afforestation Campaign" coincided with the central government issuing a call for large scale afforestation by the establishment of forest farms and mobilisation of the public.  This was against a rather schizophrenic backdrop of large areas being degraded with over-logging to meet the demand for timber to feed the "Iron and Steelmaking Campaigns" and "The Great Leap Forward" in the 1950s and 60s, as well as pressure on land for firewood and grazing.
So here in the depths of a forest we have a Forest Patrol who were not only trying to combat illegal logging and grazing  but also protect against another problem, that of fire.
Of course in managed forests tree felling continued, not only for wood but to create fire-breaks
and tree planting continued.  The 'Great Cultural Revolution' from 1966-76 brought much instability and the forestry administration descended into chaos

We arrive in 1980 with another campaign called "Afforestation of the Motherland" and this stamp shows an orchard.  In the present day, China and Vietnam are the only countries in the Asian region to increase forest cover, and China is on target to cover 23% of its landmass by 2020. This is not to say everything in the garden is lovely for there has been concern that not enough is done to protect the natural forests and their biodiversity and there is too much emphasis on plantation forestry and non indigenous trees, something familiar to me in my own county.
Here is a green and pleasant land with a highway lined with trees. 70% of the forested lands had poor road access and transport was difficult in the mountainous and hilly terrain so
aerial seeding was tried first in Wuchuan county in Guangdong in 1956 which led to a nationwide adoption of aerial seeding shown here in the 1980 stamp with an Antonov An-2 biplane sowing its seeds.
And the needs of industry and forestry are combined in this view of planting around factories and mines.
1980s definitive - 'North-east forest"
But lets move out of the depths of the forest and journey into the Pacific Ocean and the lap of waves and the islands of New Caledonia
Pointe des Paletuviers

 where 80% of the western coastline of the Grande Terre has those forests that live between water and land and the rhythm of the tides - mangroves.  The stamp, in various colours, denominations and overprints was used from the 1920s until the 1940s but I have been unable to find a photograph of the place it portrays, Mangrove Point or the Bay of Mangroves, but by accident found that it may actually be Pointe in Harcourt Bay.

An entry to Violet Sky's Sunday Stamps II theme of Woodlands, forests, parks and gardens, more here


Bob Scotney said...

Ironic to see the Chinese patrols against illegal logging when they don't do enough to help prevent the ivory trade.
Nevertheless these are a fascinating series of stamps.

FinnBadger said...

This is a pretty amazing selection. They tell a fascinating story.

VioletSky said...

Having access to the internet must have really helped YOU out with this series of stamps!!

♥ Willa @ Postage Journal♥ said...

Though I have a lot of stamps from China,but I don't recall having any of there. Very Nice!!

Willa @ Postage Journal
Sunday Stamps97: Parks & Garden

Mail Adventures said...

I find these stamps very original and effective. I like the way you have explained them, too.

namaki said...

This is so interesting ! I love it !

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

What a wonderful series, a whole story in stamps! I love the top one in particular.