New study in Nature Communications

Land use policies have turned southern China into one of the most intensively managed forest regions in the world, with actions maximizing forest cover on soils with marginal agricultural potential while concurrently increasing livelihoods and mitigating climate change. Based on satellite observations, here we show that diverse land use changes in southern China have increased standing aboveground carbon stocks by 0.11 ± 0.05 Pg C y−1 during 2002–2017. Most of this regional carbon sink was contributed by newly established forests (32%), while forests already existing contributed 24%. Forest growth in harvested forest areas contributed 16% and non-forest areas contributed 28% to the carbon sink, while timber harvest was tripled. Soil moisture declined significantly in 8% of the area. We demonstrate that land management in southern China has been removing an amount of carbon equivalent to 33% of regional fossil CO2 emissions during the last 6 years, but forest growth saturation, land competition for food production and soil-water depletion challenge the longevity of this carbon sink service.

The article is open access and can be downloaded here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s