Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2014, Vol. 0 ›› Issue (4): 397-405.doi: 10.1007/s11769-014-0703-4

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Forest Carbon Storage and Tree Carbon Pool Dynamics under Natural Forest Protection Program in Northeastern China

WEI Yawei1,2, YU Dapao1, Bernard Joseph LEWIS1, ZHOU Li1, ZHOU Wangming1, FANG Xiangmin1, ZHAO Wei1, WU Shengnan1, DAI Limin1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
    2. Shenyang Agriculture University, Shenyang 110866, China
  • Received:2013-11-18 Revised:2014-03-07 Online:2014-05-27 Published:2014-07-03
  • Contact: DAI Limin
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDA05060200), National Key Technology Research and Development Program of China (No. 2012BAD22B04), Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. 2012T1Z0006)


The Natural Forest Protection (NFP) program is one of the Six Key Forestry Projects which were adopted by the Chinese Government since the 1980s to address important natural issues in China. It advanced to protecting and restoring the structures and functions of the natural forests through sustainable forest management. However, the role of forest carbon storage and tree carbon pool dynamics since the adoption of the NFP remains unknown. To address this knowledge gap, this study calculated forest carbon storage (tree, understory, forest floor and soil) in the forest region of northeastern (NE) China based on National Forest Inventory databases and field investigated databases. For tree biomass, this study utilized an improved method for biomass estimation that converts timber volume to total forest biomass; while for understory, forest floor and soil carbon storage, this study utilized forest type-specific mean carbon densities multiplied by their areas in the region. Results showed that the tree carbon pool under the NFP in NE China functioned as a carbon sink from 1998 to 2008, with an increase of 6.3 Tg C/yr, which was mainly sequestrated by natural forests (5.1 Tg C/yr). At the same time, plantations also acted as a carbon sink, reflecting an increase of 1.2 Tg C/yr. In 2008, total carbon storage in forests covered by the NFP in NE China was 4603.8 Tg C, of which 4393.3 Tg C was stored in natural forests and 210.5 Tg C in planted forests. Soil was the largest carbon storage component, contributing 69.5%-77.8% of total carbon storage; followed by tree and forest floor, accounting for 16.3%-23.0% and 5.0%-6.5% of total carbon storage, respectively. Understory carbon pool ranged from 1.9 to 42.7 Tg C, accounting for only 0.9% of total carbon storage.

Key words: biomass-volume linear regression models, mean carbon density method, national forest inventory, Key Forestry Projects, northeastern China