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 A forested landscape in China. 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, putting them below the threshold for defining a forest in China.

The Project

The Facilitating Reforestation for Guangxi Watershed Management in Pearl River Basin project established 3,008.8 hectares of multiple-use forests, with mostly native species, on degraded lands in Huanjiang and Cangwu Counties of Guangxi Province. The reforestation in Huanjiang included sites neighboring Mulun National Nature Reserve and Shiwanshan National Nature Reserve, and sites with severe soil and water erosion in Cangwu. The project is implemented separately but linked with a larger umbrella project – Guangxi Integrated Forestry Development and Conservation Project (GIFDCP), which supports monitoring of environmental and social impacts on natural forests, watershed and biodiversity aspects of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The parties involved in this implementation therefore include the Government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, farmer cooperatives, the Kangyuan and Fuyuan forest farms, and the Luhuan Forestry Development Company. The project demonstrated 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).

A forest community in China. Environmental Benefits

The forest restoration in the Guangxi area has played a vital role in biodiversity, soil, and water conservation. Improved habitats and increased connectivity of forests adjacent to nature reserves has helped in enhancing biodiversity. In addition, the reforestation activities are sequestering carbon dioxide and improving the control of soil and water erosion.

Social and Community Benefits

Participating communities benefited from the direct income generated by carbon revenues and from the timber and non-timber products. Project arrangements were decided through a participatory process carried out at the village level, reflecting the preference of the farmers and communities. The local forestry companies provided training and technical services, invested in planting activities, and paid 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.