Rapid expansion of China’s forests has significantly cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air by industrial plants over the past two decades, recent studies showed.
“Before the middle of the 1970s, China released loads of carbon dioxide from massive projects and most of it was not absorbed because of deforestation, but things have changed during the past 20 years,” said Fang Jingyun, professor of Peking University.
Government-sponsored research over the past decade by Fang and his colleagues revealed that forests planted since the 1970s annually absorbed nearly half of China’s industrial emissions of carbon dioxide during the past 10 years, Tuesday’s China Daily reported.
Due to forest expansion, carbon storage increased significantly after the late 1970s from 4.38 to 4.75 billion tons by 1998.
“Our research suggested that carbon sequestration through afforestation practices could help offset industrial carbon dioxide emissions with China contributing a lot in reducing global warming,” said Fang.
He said that similar research has been conducted by North American and European countries and they confirmed the contribution of forests.
China so far has 133.7 million hectares of forested land. Nationwide afforestation and reforestation programs have been in effect since the 1970s.
(Xinhua News Agency 07/10/2001)