Sustained Biomass Carbon Sequestration by China’s Forests from 2010 to 2050 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • China’s forests have functioned as important carbon sinks. They are expected to have substantial future potential for biomass carbon sequestration (BCS) resulting from afforestation and reforestation. However, previous estimates of forest BCS have included large uncertainties due to the limitations of sample size, multiple data sources, and inconsistent methodologies. This study refined the BCS estimation of China’s forests from 2010 to 2050 using the national forest inventory data (FID) of 2009−2013, as well as the relationships between forest biomass and stand age retrieved from field observations for major forest types in different regions of China. The results showed that biomass–age relationships were well-fitted using field data, with respective R2 values more than 0.70 (p < 0.01) for most forest types, indicating the applicability of these relationships developed for BCS estimation in China. National BCS would increase from 130.90 to 159.94 Tg C year−1 during the period of 2010−2050 because of increases in forest area and biomass carbon density, with a maximum of 230.15 Tg C year−1 around 2030. BCS for young and middle-aged forests would increase by 65.35 and 15.38 Tg C year−1, respectively. 187.8% of this increase would be offset by premature, mature, and overmature forests. During the study period, forest BCS would increase in all but the northern region. The largest contributor to the increment would be the southern region (52.5%), followed by the southwest, northeast, northwest, and east regions. Their BCS would be primarily driven by the area expansion and forest growth of young and middle-aged forests as a result of afforestation and reforestation. In the northern region, BCS reduction would occur mainly in the Inner Mongolia province (6.38 Tg C year−1) and be caused predominantly by a slowdown in the increases of forest area and biomass carbon density for different age–class forests. Our findings are in broader agreement with other studies, which provide valuable references for the validation and parameterization of carbon models and climate-change mitigation policies in China.


  • Zhang, Chunhua
  • Ju, Weimin
  • Chen, Jing
  • Fang, Meihong
  • Wu, Mengquan
  • Chang, Xueli
  • Wang, Tao
  • Wang, Xiqun

publication date

  • November 1, 2018