Main content area

Carbon benefits of wolfberry plantation on secondary saline land in Jingtai oasis, Gansu – A case study on application of the CBP model

Wang, Yaolin, Zhao, Chuanyan, Ma, Quanlin, Li, Yingke, Jing, Hujia, Sun, Tao, Milne, Eleanor, Easter, Mark, Paustian, Keith, Au Yong, Hoi Wen, McDonagh, John
Journal of environmental management 2015 v.157 pp. 303-310
Lycium barbarum, anthropogenic activities, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon sequestration, carbon sinks, case studies, climate change, cost benefit analysis, ecosystems, farmers, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, income, irrigation, issues and policy, land use change, models, nitrogen fertilizers, oases, planting, reforestation, soil, soil organic carbon, sustainable land management, trees, China
The largest global source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions comes from the burning of fossil fuel and approximately 30% of total net emissions come from land use and land use change. Forestation and reforestation are regarded worldwide as effective options of sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change with relatively low costs compared with industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction efforts. Cash trees with a steady augmentation in size are recognized as a multiple-beneficial solution to climate change in China. The reporting of C changes and GHG emissions for sustainable land management (SLM) practices such as afforestation is required for a variety of reasons, such as devising land management options and making policy. The Carbon Benefit Project (CBP) Simple Assessment Tool was employed to estimate changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and GHG emissions for wolfberry (Lycium barbarum L.) planting on secondary salinized land over a 10 year period (2004–2014) in the Jingtai oasis in Gansu with salinized barren land as baseline scenario. Results show that wolfberry plantation, an intensively managed ecosystem, served as a carbon sink with a large potential for climate change mitigation, a restorative practice for saline land and income stream generator for farmers in soil salinized regions in Gansu province. However, an increase in wolfberry production, driven by economic demands, would bring environmental pressures associated with the use of N fertilizer and irrigation. With an understanding of all of the components of an ecosystem and their interconnections using the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework there comes a need for strategies to respond to them such as capacity building, judicious irrigation and institutional strengthening. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) suggests that wolfberry cultivation was economically profitable and socially beneficial and thus well-accepted locally in the context of carbon sequestration. This study has important implications for Gansu as it helps to understand the role cash trees can play in carbon emission reductions. Such information is necessary in devising management options for sustainable land management (SLM).