The total carbon storage of forest vegetation in my country has reached 9.2 billion tons

Achieve carbon neutrality and forests play a big role (Beautiful China·Carbon reduction and emission reduction in action①)

  Our reporter Kou Jiangze

  "People's Daily" (14th edition on January 14, 2021)

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  In response to climate change, my country has proposed "strive to reach the peak of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060" "By 2030, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will drop by more than 65% from 2005", etc. The goal is promised; the Central Economic Work Conference will also "do a good job in carbon peaking and carbon neutrality" as a key task to be grasped in 2021.

  From now on, this edition launches a series of reports on "Beautiful China · Carbon Reduction and Emission Reduction in Action", focusing on forest carbon sinks, ocean carbon sequestration, industrial energy conservation and emission reduction, and clean energy development, showing that my country is in pursuit of new emission reduction targets The effort made.

  Recently, Zhang Guobin, a third-level investigator of the Climate Division of the National Forestry and Grass Administration, was busy and excited: "To deal with climate change, my country has proposed a new goal by 2030, of which the forest volume will increase by 6 billion cubic meters compared with 2005. Forest carbon sinks will play an increasingly important role in achieving carbon neutrality goals."

  Zhang Guobin said that the status and role of forestry and grassland in responding to climate change has been elevated to a new level. As a forestry and grassland worker, he feels both a great responsibility and a glorious mission. "At present, we are expanding around new goals. Research and formulate plans and implement specific goals in terms of forest area, improvement of forest quality, scientific protection and utilization, etc.".

  Carbon sequestration in forests is one of the main ways to mitigate climate change. In recent years, my country has carried out large-scale land greening operations

  Currently, there are two main ways to mitigate climate change: one is to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the industrial and energy sectors, that is, to reduce emissions; the other is to protect and restore forests, grasslands, wetlands, etc., and increase the absorption of carbon dioxide, namely Carbon fixation.

  "Just like banks store cash, forests can store carbon dioxide through plant photosynthesis." Zhu Jianhua, an associate researcher at the Institute of Forest Ecology and Environmental Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, said that after plant photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide, it cannot be completely stored. It will be released with the respiration of plants and soil; plant deaths, fires, pests and diseases, logging, etc. will also cause forests to release part of carbon, and the remaining carbon dioxide stored is called a carbon sink.

  As the main body of terrestrial ecosystem, forest is the largest carbon pool in the system.

Forest carbon sinks are also one of the economic and effective ways to deal with climate change.

Zhu Jianhua introduced that the natural process of carbon sequestration in forests does not require high costs, and it also has ecological benefits such as protecting biodiversity, conserving water sources, and preventing wind and sand.

  my country attaches great importance to the role of forest carbon sinks in addressing climate change.

As early as 2009, my country proposed that the forest stock volume by 2020 will increase by 1.3 billion cubic meters compared to 2005; and in 2015, it was proposed that the forest stock volume by 2030 will increase by about 4.5 billion cubic meters from 2005.

  In recent years, my country has carried out large-scale land greening operations, comprehensively protecting natural forests, and expanding the scale of returning farmland to forests and grasses.

Up to now, the national forest coverage rate has reached 23.04%, and the forest stock volume has exceeded 17.5 billion cubic meters, an increase of more than 4.5 billion cubic meters over 2005.

"The forest stock volume has exceeded the 2020 target, and the target of an increase of about 4.5 billion cubic meters in 2030 has also been completed ahead of schedule." Zhang Guobin introduced.

  my country's forest area and forest stock volume have maintained double growth for more than 30 consecutive years

  Experts point out that the rate of forest carbon sequestration is closely related to its age composition.

Generally, forests can be divided into young forests, middle-age forests, near-mature forests, mature forests and over-mature forests according to age.

The carbon sequestration rate of young and middle-aged forests is relatively fast, and the growth rate of mature and overmature forests is reduced, so the absorption and release of carbon are basically balanced.

  In the context of the overall decline in global forest resources, my country's forest coverage rate has increased from 12.7% in the early 1970s to the current 23.04%, and the forest area and forest stock volume have maintained double growth for more than 30 consecutive years.

"Through large-scale afforestation and vegetation restoration, my country’s forests as a whole are currently in a stage dominated by young and middle-aged forests, and their growth is relatively vigorous, which will help increase the carbon sink intensity of my country’s terrestrial ecosystem and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions The multiple measures play a significant role." Zhu Jianhua said.

  A research result released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2018 shows that my country's terrestrial ecosystems have played an important role in carbon sinks in the past few decades.

During the period from 2001 to 2010, the terrestrial ecosystems had an average annual carbon sequestration of 201 million tons, equivalent to offsetting 14.1% of China’s fossil fuel carbon emissions during the same period; among them, forest ecosystems were the main body of carbon sequestration, contributing about 80% of the carbon sequestration. Carbon content.

  The National Forestry and Grass Administration, in cooperation with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, combined with the compilation of my country's national greenhouse gas inventory, to systematically estimate the carbon sink situation.

Liu Dongsheng, deputy director of the National Forestry and Grass Administration, said that the total carbon storage of forest vegetation in my country has reached 9.2 billion tons, and the average annual increase in forest carbon storage is more than 200 million tons, which is equivalent to 700 to 800 million tons of carbon sink.

  In my country's new climate action goals, the forest stock volume in 2030 will increase from about 4.5 billion cubic meters to 6 billion cubic meters compared with the increase in 2005.

"It has been estimated that for every 100 million cubic meters of forest stock increase, 160 million tons of carbon dioxide can be fixed accordingly." Xu Huaqing, director of the National Center for Strategic Research on Climate Change and International Cooperation, said that we will have to make a lot of efforts to achieve the new goals.

  In addition to expanding the forest area, but also improving quality, scientific protection and utilization

  How to complete the new forest stock volume target and increase forest carbon sink capacity?

Zhu Jianhua suggested that to expand the forest area, it is necessary to improve the quality of the forest and scientifically protect and utilize it.

  "According to the assessment, the maximum potential of my country’s forest coverage rate is likely to reach 28%-29%. There are still about 30 million hectares of land available for afforestation, plus more than 4,000 hectares of land converted to forests and grasslands. Ten thousand hectares of land can be used to expand the forest area.” Zhu Jianhua said that my country’s average forest volume per hectare is only more than 90 cubic meters. It is necessary to strengthen forest management and adopt forest tending measures to establish a healthy, stable and efficient forest ecosystem.

  "To protect the existing forests and reduce deforestation is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including reducing forest deaths and forest degradation caused by fires, diseases and insect pests, etc. This is also an important way to increase forest carbon storage." Zhu Jianhua said.

  "Responding to climate change is a major issue that my country has committed to the world. We will organically integrate the greening of the country with the response to climate change." Liu Dongsheng said. At the same time, the forestry and grass sector will also increase the carbon sink of grasslands and wetlands, and vigorously develop biomass energy. , To play an increasing role in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality.