, Volume 50, Issue 9, pp 1341-1350

Terrestrial vegetation carbon sinks in China, 1981–2000

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Abstract

Using China’s ground observations, e.g., forest inventory, grassland resource, agricultural statistics, climate, and satellite data, we estimate terrestrial vegetation carbon sinks for China’s major biomes between 1981 and 2000. The main results are in the following: (1) Forest area and forest biomass carbon (C) stock increased from 116.5×106 ha and 4.3 Pg C (1 Pg C = 1015 g C) in the early 1980s to 142.8×106 ha and 5.9 Pg C in the early 2000s, respectively. Forest biomass carbon density increased form 36.9 Mg C/ha (1 Mg C = 106 g C) to 41.0 Mg C/ha, with an annual carbon sequestration rate of 0.075 Pg C/a. Grassland, shrub, and crop biomass sequestrate carbon at annual rates of 0.007 Pg C/a, 0.014–0.024 Pg C/a, and 0.0125–0.0143 Pg C/a, respectively. (2) The total terrestrial vegetation C sink in China is in a range of 0.096–0.106 Pg C/a between 1981 and 2000, accounting for 14.6%–16.1% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by China’s industry in the same period. In addition, soil carbon sink is estimated at 0.04–0.07 Pg C/a. Accordingly, carbon sequestration by China’s terrestrial ecosystems (vegetation and soil) offsets 20.8%–26.8% of its industrial CO2 emission for the study period. (3) Considerable uncertainties exist in the present study, especially in the estimation of soil carbon sinks, and need further intensive investigation in the future.

Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 90211016, 40638039, 40228001, and 40021101) and the Key MOE Research Project (Grant No. 306019)