Climatic Change

, Volume 67, Issue 2–3, pp 211–236 | Cite as

‘New Estimates of Carbon Storage and Sequestration in China’S Forests: Effects of Age–Class and Method On Inventory-Based Carbon Estimation’

  • Yude PanEmail author
  • Tianxiang Luo
  • Richard Birdsey
  • John Hom
  • Jerry Melillo


We developed a volume-to-biomass method based on age groups representative of forest development stages to estimate live tree biomass, C, and biomass and C accumulation rates of China’s forests between 1973 and 1993. The data were from plot-level forest inventory, national-level inventory statistics, and ecological site studies specified to estimate biomass in different tree components. Our results indicate that carbon storage in China’s forests was 4.34 Pg C in the early 1990s, an increase of 13% since the early 1970s. The annual forest C sequestration rate from the late 1980s to early 1990s was 0.068 Pg C/yr and approximately four- to five-times higher than in the 1970s and 1980s. The large C sink in China’s forests in the early 1990s was likely related to age structure changes that had developed to more productive stages, a consequence of reforestation and afforestation programs from the 1960s. The results were compared with other C store estimates, which were based on the same inventory data. Various methods can produce estimates that differ in the direction of C flux as well as its magnitude. Separating age groups with the volume–biomass method could cause a 27% difference in estimated carbon pools but an 89% difference in C sequestration rates whereas the biomass density method would provide an estimate that differs by 65% in the C pools.


Biomass Carbon Storage Carbon Pool Forest Inventory Live Tree 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yude Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tianxiang Luo
    • 2
  • Richard Birdsey
    • 1
  • John Hom
    • 1
  • Jerry Melillo
    • 3
  1. 1.USDA Forest Service, Northern Global Change ProgramU.S.A.
  2. 2.Institute of Geographical Science and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingP.R. China
  3. 3.Marine Biological LaboratoryThe Ecosystem CenterWoods HoleU.S.A.

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