Background: The Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) forest is an important forest resource. The health status of the Moso bamboo forest are increasingly affected by a range of unscientific and irrational management, which may permanently alter the Moso bamboo forest economic value and ecological function and disrupt the long-term sustainable management. However, how to assess the health status of the Moso bamboo forest and guide the scientific management of the Moso bamboo forest are little known.
Methods: The index system of Moso bamboo forest health assessment was identified and quantified by literature collection, indicators simplification, expert questionnaires, and mathematical analysis. The health index of Moso bamboo forest health assessment was calculated by the comprehensive health index method. The practicability and feasibility of the health index were verified in the Moso bamboo forest in Anhui and Fujian provinces of China.
Results: An index system that included four layers and 19 indicators could comprehensively assess the health of the Moso bamboo forest. This index system assessed the ‘Health basis of the Moso bamboo forest’ and the ‘Value and function of the Moso bamboo forest’. The health index of the Moso bamboo forest in Anhui and Fujian provinces ranged from 0.50 to 0.83. Only2.35 % of the Moso bamboo forest showed a health index higher than 0.80, whereas the health index of 22.35 % of the forest was lower than 0.60. The health index of the Moso bamboo forest was higher under irrigation management and fertilization management than others. The treetop cutting was not recommended unless those areas had frequent occurrences of snow and ice disasters.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the health status need to be improved in most of the Moso bamboo forest. Scientific management would be the important tool to keep and improve the health status of Moso bamboo forest. Our results can be adapted in the resource management and policy decisions for better management of the Moso bamboo forest.