UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Assessing Carbon Sequestration Potential in State-Owned Plantation Forests in China and Exploring Feasibility for Carbon Offset Projects Chen, Zheng; Dayananda, Buddhi; Du, Huaqiang; Zhou, Guomo; Wang, Guangyu


In the pursuit of carbon neutrality, state-owned forests are prime candidates for carbon offset projects due to their unique tenure and management characteristics. Employing methodologies endorsed by the International Panel on Climate Change and logistic growth curves, this study assesses the carbon stocks and sequestration potential of established state-owned plantation forests across 31 Chinese provinces from 2023 to 2060, encompassing seven forestry industry groups. This study projects that by 2060, these forests will amass a carbon stock of 558.25 MtC, with the highest stock in Northeast China (122.09 MtC) and the lowest in Northwest China (32.27 MtC), notably showing the highest growth rate at 91.15%. Over the forecast period, they are expected to accumulate a carbon sink of 637.07 MtCO2e, translating to an average annual carbon sink of 17.22 MtCO2e and an average annual carbon sink per unit of 1.41 tons of CO2 per hectare per year. Additionally, state-owned forests have the potential to offset approximately 0.15%–0.17% of annual carbon emissions, aligning with international climate goals. However, it is essential to note that the conversion of these carbon sinks into tradable carbon credits is subject to specific methodology requirements. Therefore, the future development of carbon offset projects in China’s state-owned forests should consider the advancement of carbon market mechanisms, including the Chinese Certified Emission Reduction and the introduction of a carbon inclusion mechanism and natural forest methodology, to fully realize their potential contributions to carbon neutrality. In summary, these findings offer valuable insights for shaping the future of carbon offset initiatives within China’s state-owned forests.

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