In the early stage of afforestation, the planting strategy was to grow a large quantity of trees to provide quick establishment of vegetation cover at barren hillside to improve the landscape of countryside and to prevent soil erosion. Exotic tree species with hardy and fast growing characteristics, such as Chinese Red Pine, Acacia and Brisbane Box, were selected and widely used.
After decades of extensive tree planting, the forest coverage of Hong Kong has gradually increased. The afforestation strategy and focus have been adjusted from soil erosion control to enhancement of ecological value and biodiversity of country parks. Native species offering fruits and nectar as food sources for local wildlife are thus used in increasing proportion. Recently, over 80% of tree seedlings planted in country parks are native species. Some successful examples of native species used for afforestation are Castanopsis fissa, Schima superba, Liquidambar formosana, Machilus spp. and Polyspora axillaris, etc.