Chinese scholarship underwent radical changes and the traditional knowledge system found itself in legitimacy crisis in the late Qing and Republican periods. Hence, modern disciplinary knowledge was initiated through translation through which western local knowledge was cosmopolitanized and then re-localized to fit the Chinese context. From the perspective of Transknowletology, this paper studies in detail the forestry literature translation published in missionary journals and the Journal of Agricultural Sciences in the late Qing Dynasty and forestry books in the Republic of China and finds that it was mainly Japanese forestry system that was introduced into China in the late Qing Dynasty, while many books in the Republic of China were compiled based on multiple foreign books with localized findings of experiment and investigation as well as local metrics and solar terms to suit Chinese context. In this way the cosmopolitan forestry knowledge was re-contextualized and re-localized. It is also found that the development of modern afforestation knowledge in the late Qing and Republican periods followed a special trajectory in re-localization and reproduction, namely, conceptualization, nominalization, knowledge-making, and actualization (realization). What’s more, the worldwide dissemination of scientific knowledge is not just a one-way transmission, but a two-way interaction. These findings not only help understand the relationship between translation and knowledge reproduction and diffusion, but also appreciate the essence, value and history of translation.