An inventory-based approach for estimating the managed China’s forest biomass carbon stock

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Mei Huang, Guirui Yu, Xiliu Yue and Junbang Wang, IGSNRR Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing, China
China’s forests cover a large area and have the characteristics of young age thus have the potential for a major role in mitigate the rate of global climate change. On the basis of forest inventory data and spatial distribution of forest stand age and forest type, we developed an approach for estimating yearly China’s forest biomass carbon stocks change. Using this approach, we estimated the changes of forest carbon stock due to management practice and forest age structure change, respectively, and predicted China’s future carbon potential based on national forest expansion plan. We also discussed sustainable harvesting intensity for the expanded forest of 2020. The spatial pattern of forest biomass carbon density in 2001 showed high in southwestern and northeastern areas, and low in the other regions, meanwhile the high C sinks appeared in the southwestern and northeastern young-aged forests and low in the southwestern and northeastern old-aged forests. The total forest biomass C stock of China increased from 6.06 Pg C in 2001 to 7.88 Pg C in 2013, giving a total increase of 1.82 Pg C, in which 0.45 Pg C is caused by forest expansion. The average C sink during 2002-2013 was 151.83 Tg C, in which 75.5% is the results of forest growth and 24.5% is caused by forest expansion. With the assumption of China’s forest area will expand by 40 million hectares from 2006 to 2020, the forest C stock in 2020 is predicted as 9.04 Pg C. Harvesting intensity experiments conducted on the expanded forest of 2020 shown higher harvesting level will lead to decline in forest biomass in long term. The harvesting level of 2% is an optimal harvesting intensity for sustainable development of China’s forest resources.