06 Nov 2023
 | 06 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Mapping the Future Afforestation Distribution of China Constrained by National Afforestation Plan and Climate Change

Shuaifeng Song, Xuezhen Zhang, and Xiaodong Yan

Abstract. Afforestation has been considered a critical nature-based solution to mitigate global warming. China has announced an ambitious afforestation plan covering an area of 73.78×104 km2 from 2020 to 2050. However, it is unclear where it will be suitable for afforestation under future climate change. Here, we carried out a finer resolution (25 by 25 km) of climate change dynamic downscaling for China using the WRF model nested with bias-corrected MPI–ESM1–2–HR model; then, using the Holdridge life zone model forced by the WRF model output, we mapped the climatological suitability for forest in China. The results showed that the potential forestation domain (PFD) at present (1995–2014) approximated 500.75×104 km2, and it would increase to 518.25×104 km2, by about 3.49 %, to the period of 2041–2060 under the SSP2–4.5 scenario. Considering the expansion of the future PFD caused by climate change, the afforestation area for each province was allocated into grid cells following the climatological suitability for the forest. The newly afforestation grid cells would occur around and to the east of the Hu Line. Due to afforestation, the land cover would be modified. The conversion of grasslands to deciduous broadleaf forests in northern China covered most area, accounting for 41 % of the newly afforestation area. The grid cell-resolved afforestation dataset was consistent with the provincial afforestation plan and the future climatological forest suitability. It would be valuable for investigating the impacts of future afforestation on various aspects, including the carbon budget, ecosystem services, water resources, and surface climate.

Shuaifeng Song et al.

Status: open (until 04 Jan 2024)

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Shuaifeng Song et al.

Shuaifeng Song et al.


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Short summary
We mapped the distribution of future potential afforestation area based on future high-resolution climate data and climate-vegetation model. After considering national afforestation policy and climate change, we found that the future potential afforestation area is mainly located around and to the east of the Hu Line. This study can provide a dataset for exploring the effects of future afforestation, and this method can guide designing future gridded afforestation regions for other countries.