04 Feb 2022
04 Feb 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Updated estimation of forest biomass carbon pools in China, 1977–2018

Chen Yang1, Wenjuan Sun2,3, Jiangling Zhu1, Chengjun Ji1, Yuhao Feng1, Suhui Ma1, Yue Shi2, Zhaodi Guo4, and Jingyun Fang1 Chen Yang et al.
  • 1Institute of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 4National Satellite Meteorological Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China

Abstract. China is the largest reforestation country in the world and the accurate estimation of its forest biomass carbon (C) pool is critical for evaluating the country’s C budget and ecosystem services of forests. Although several studies have estimated China’s forest biomass using national forest inventory data, most of them were limited to the period of 2004–2008. In this study, we extended our estimation to the most recent period of 2014–2018. Using datasets of eight inventory periods from 1977 to 2018 and the continuous biomass expansion factor method, we estimated that the total biomass C pool and average biomass C density of Chinese forests increased from 4717 Tg C (1 Tg = 1012 g) in the period of 1977–1981 to 7975 Tg C in the period of 2014–2018 and 38.2 Mg C ha−1 to 45.8 Mg C ha−1 (1 Mg = 106 g), respectively, with a net increase of 3258 Tg C and an annual sink of 88.0 Tg C year−1. Over the recent 10 years (2009–2018) the averaged national biomass C density and C sink showed a respective increase of 5.0 Mg C ha−1 and 91.5 Tg C year−1 much larger than those of 39.6 Mg C ha−1 and 63.3 Tg C year−1 in the period of 1977–2008. These pronouncing increases were largely attributed to afforestation practices, forest age growth, and environmental changes. Our results have documented the importance of ecological restoration practices and provided an essential basis for assessing ecosystem services and achieving China's C neutrality target.

Chen Yang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2022-18', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Mar 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Chen Yang, 08 Apr 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2022-18', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Mar 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Chen Yang, 08 Apr 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2022-18', Richard A. Birdsey, 08 Mar 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Chen Yang, 08 Apr 2022

Chen Yang et al.

Chen Yang et al.


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Short summary
Quantifying China's forest biomass carbon (C) pool is important in understanding C cycling in forests. However, most of studies on forest biomass C pool were limited to the period of 2004–2008. Here, we used biomass expansion factor method to estimate C pool from 1977 to 2018. The results suggest that afforestation practices, forest growth, and environmental changes were main drivers of increased C sink. Thus, this study provided an essential basis for achieving China's C neutrality target.