China: Facilitating Reforestation for Guangxi Watershed Management in Pearl River Basin
UNFCCC Reference No.: 0547
Areas of the Guangxi Watershed in the Pearl River Basin, one of the richest plant diversity centers in China, had suffered several large-scale deforestation events since the 1950s. Deforestation was mainly caused by short-term policies that favored rapid economic growth at the expense of sustainable forest management. These unsustainable policies, as well as overuse for fuelwood, grazing, and frequent fires, caused severe degradation of the original forested lands. Despite a previous air-seeding attempt in the 1990s, many areas remained either bare or with few trees—in both cases, they were below the threshold for defining a forest in China.
The Facilitating Reforestation for Guangxi Watershed Management in Pearl River Basin project is establishing 3000 hectares of multiple-use forests with mostly native species. It is located in the Huanjiang County of Guangxi, including sites neighboring Mulun National Nature Reserve and Shiwanshan National Nature Reserve, and sites with severe soil and water erosion in Cangwu County of Guangxi. The project is implemented by the Government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, farmer cooperatives, the Kangyuan and Fuyuan forest farms, and the Luhuan Forestry Development Company. The project is demonstrating an innovative technical and methodological approach to credible carbon sequestration: it is enabling the carbon sequestered by plantations to act as a “virtual cash crop” for the local project beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are gaining direct benefits from harvesting the plantation, as well as income from the sale of carbon credits, which in turn reduces the threats to natural forests. This project is the first Afforestation / Reforestation project activity to be registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The forest restoration in the Guangxi area is playing a vital role in biodiversity, soil, and water conservation. Improving habitats and increasing the connectivity of forests adjacent to nature reserves is enhancing biodiversity. In addition, the reforestation activities are sequestering carbon dioxide and improving soil and water erosion control.
Social and Community Benefits:
Participating communities benefit from the direct income generated by carbon revenues and from the timber and non-timber products. Project arrangements are decided through a participatory process carried out at the village level, reflecting the preference of the farmers and communities. The local forestry companies are providing training and technical services, investing in planting activities, and paying farmers for their labor to ensure their short-term income. In the longer term, the farmers, communities, and forestry companies will share the net income from the resulting forest products.