Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (7): 1808-1820.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202207016

• Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Imbalance of inter-provincial forest carbon sequestration rate (2010-2060) in China and its regulation strategy

CAI Weixiang1,2(), XU Li2, LI Mingxu2, SUN Osbert Jianxin1, HE Nianpeng2,3,4()   

  1. 1. School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Center for Ecological Research, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
  • Received:2021-11-15 Revised:2022-04-21 Online:2022-07-25 Published:2022-09-13
  • Contact: HE Nianpeng;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42141004);National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171544);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31988102)


Forest ecosystem, as a predominant component of terrestrial ecosystem carbon sinks, has a high potential for carbon sequestration. Accurate estimation of the carbon sequestration rate in forest ecosystems at provincial level is a prerequisite and foundation for scientifically formulating the technical approaches of carbon neutrality and associated regulatory policies. However, research on future carbon sequestration rates (CSRs) for forest ecosystems for provincial-level regions (hereafter province) in China has rarely been reported. This paper quantitatively assesses the carbon sequestration rates of existing forest ecosystems of all the provinces from 2010 to 2060 using the Forest Carbon Sequestration model (FCS), in combination with large quantities of measured data in China under three future climate scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5). Results showed that CSRs across provinces varied from 0.01Tg C/a to 36.74 Tg C/a, with a mean of (10.09±0.43) Tg C/a. There are apparent inter-provincial differences in view of forest CSRs. In terms of the spatial variations in CSRs on unit area basis within provinces, the eastern region has larger capacity to sequestration than the western region, while the western region has greater CSR per unit GDP and per capita. Moreover, there are significant negative correlations between the CSRs per capita in each province and the corresponding GDP per capita, under an assumption that GDP per capita is constant across provinces. In summary, there is a significant regional imbalance of the CSR among provinces, and major technical and policy changes are needed to realize their carbon sink potential sustainably. In view of the overlap between China's poor areas and high ecological carbon sink areas, it is indicated that the existing policies to support the traditional carbon trading are far from sufficient. It is urgent to take China's regulatory measures such as "regional carbon compensation" in line with the Chinese characteristics, so that people in western or underdeveloped regions can voluntarily/consciously strengthen forest protection and enhance forest carbon sinks on the basis of ensuring coordinated regional development, thus China's forests can play a greater role in carbon neutrality strategies.

Key words: forest, carbon cycle, carbon sequestration, carbon sink, imbalance, sustainability, carbon neutrality, carbon trading