China’s Reforestation Plan On Track

Planting Trees To Combat Climate Change

China is on track to meet its 2020 target for expanding the nation’s forests to cover 23 percent of its landmass to combat climate change and soil erosion, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on Tuesday. But some observers are critical of the massive reforestation, saying China is focusing on plantation forestry and ignoring the restoration of natural forests, which are still being lost.

Since 2008, China has planted 13 million hectares (130,000 square kms) of new forests, roughly the size of Montenegro, taking total forest coverage to 208 million hectares (two million sq kms) or just over 21 percent of its landmass.

reforestation

“We have completed 60 percent of our task to meet the target for forest coverage and aim at 23 percent (of the landmass) by 2020,” Zhao Shucong, the director of the SFA, told reporters in Beijing.

China launched its reforestation program in 1998, after devastating flooding of the Yangtze river was blamed on the loss of trees, which previously had acted as flood barriers. Large-scale deforestation in northern China has contributed to loss of topsoil, causing huge storms that sometimes carry sand and dust as far as eastern Canada.

Trees Can Save Water

By regrowing its forests quickly, they now help conserve 581 billion cubic meters of water each year, while storing 8.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere, according to the SFA. Reforestation has also contributed to the growth in China’s domestic timber industry.

giant panda conservation

China Urged To Restore Entire Ecosystems

But some experts question the sustainability of China’s forestry program, arguing it focuses almost exclusively on plantation forestry and ignores restoration of natural forests.

“The SFA only looks at forested land, but they forget the full picture,” Xu Jianchu, a professor at the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Reuters.

He said most of the new forested land was low-quality, and pointed out that while new trees are planted rapidly, data shows that forest loss in many areas of China is increasing.

reforestation and carbon capture

Local authorities often choose to plant non-native species such as fruit trees and rubber in order to maximize economic benefits, instead of opting for trees naturally suited to local areas. In arid and semi-arid regions, this has often worsened soil erosion and water scarcity instead of solving it, adding to food production problems.

“They should also look at agriculture, and treat the ecosystem as a whole,” said Xu.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/china-forests-idINL3N0LU1KB20140225

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems.

Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support. Write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Reforestation Project in China Earns Carbon Credits

Carbon Capture An Emerging Priority In China

A project that has reforested 3,000 hectares of previously barren land in China’s southwest Guangxi is issuing its first carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism. The Facilitating Reforestation for Guangxi Watershed Management in Pearl River Basin Project was the first reforestation project to be registered in the world under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which yesterday issued 131,964 temporary Certified Emission Reductions.

giant panda conservation

“With fast restoration and expansion of forest areas in recent years, China has great potential for carbon sequestration through afforestation and reforestation. The Guangxi project has demonstrated an innovative and effective approach to mitigating climate change,” said Klaus Rohland, World Bank’s Country Director for China.

The Guangxi Watershed in the Pearl River Basin, one of the richest and most diverse areas in terms of flora in the country, suffered greatly from deforestation since the 1950s. This, in addition to grazing, frequent fires and the use of wood for fuel, caused severe degradation of the original native forest. Despite efforts to restore forests in the 1990s, many areas remained either bare or sparsely populated with trees.

Supported by the provincial and local governments, local farmer communities are working with Kangyuan and Fuyuan forest farms, Xinghuan Forestry Development Company and Luhuan Forestry Development Company to restore the forest by planting mostly native species. Reforestation in this degraded region has played a vital role in terms of biodiversity, soil, and water conservation. The plantations established along the Pearl River, the third longest river in China, support both conservation and watershed management by controlling water erosion, and enhance biodiversity by improving habitats, increasing the connectivity of forests adjacent to nature reserves.

deforestation and climate change

On a local level, the project uses innovative approaches, by enabling the carbon sequestered by trees to act as a “virtual cash crop”. Communities benefit from the direct income from the sale of the carbon credits to the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund and from the products such as resin that the trees provide. Together, the villages decide which projects will be implemented, and local forestry companies provide them with training and technical services. In addition to providing a steady income from the sale of carbon credits and forestry products, the project will be able to involve about 15,000 local farmers in the planting and maintenance process, creating about 3.8 million person-days in temporary jobs and 30 long-term job positions over the 30-year crediting period.

The project has also raised the awareness of climate change among villagers. “We never realized that we could benefit from selling fresh air, said 47-year old Tan Jiming from Leyi Village in Huanjiang County of Guangxi. Registered in 2007, this project helps to demonstrate that carbon revenues can enhance the long-term financial sustainability of a project as well as building forestry management capacity at both central and provincial levels. In 2010, the China Green Carbon Foundation was launched following this same approach of greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration through reforestation.

This project has attracted the attention of different sectors and regions, and we have seen a steady stream of visitors from other parts of China and abroad. We are very pleased to have shared our experience and lessons learned – it has really played a demonstrative role as a successful pilot project,” said Li Guiyu, Director of the Project Management Office in the Guangxi Forestry Bureau.

reforestation and forest conservation

 

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is one of the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol intended to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere in a cost-effective manner. The CDM allows emission-reduction (or emission removal) projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, created in 2004, is purchasing credits from over 20 afforestation and reforestation projects under the CDM in more than 16 countries and five regions of the world. The Fund’s resources are allocated to projects on degraded lands: half to projects with environmental restoration purposes, 25 percent for fuel-wood and 21 percent for timber. All of the projects directly benefit poor farmers; in most of them, farmers are planting their own lands.

source: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2012/12/28/reforestation-pilot-in-china-is-earning-carbon-credits

climate change and deforestation

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Sacred Seedlings is a U.S.-based program that supports the vision of local stakeholders. We have projects ready across Africa. We seek additional projects elsewhere around the world. We also seek volunteers, sponsors and donors of cash and in-kind support.