Evaluating the effectiveness of Shennongjia National Nature Reserve based on the dynamics of forest carbon pools

DENG Shuyu1,2 DONG Xiangzhong3 MA Mingzhe1,2 ZANG Zhenhua1,4 XU Wenting1 ZHAO Changming1 XIE Zongqiang1 SHEN Guozhen1

(1.State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093)
(2.University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049)
(3.Beijing Danqing Gardening Co., Ltd, Beijing 100093)
(4.Key Laboratory for Forest Resources Ecosystem Processes of Beijing, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083)

【Abstract】Nature reserves are a cornerstone of global conservation strategies. However, the effectiveness of the reserve in conserving ecosystem function such as carbon storage is poorly understood. The Shennongjia National Nature Reserve is a conservation icon and has taken exceptional efforts to protect forests. It provides a unique case to address this question. Here, we quantified the carbon storage from aboveground carbon, belowground carbon, litter, coarse woody debris, and soil organic carbon inside and outside the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve between 1990 and 2010, based on the inventory data and digitized historical land cover maps. The result showed that the woodland covered 92.76% of the reserve, most of which was coniferous forest (51.85%), deciduous broad-leaved forest (35.11%), and evergreen broad-leaved forest (4.47%). Between 1990 and 2010, the area of the woodland increased 0.11%, while the areas of shrubland and cropland declined 8.85% and 6.06%, respectively. The Shennongjia National Natural Reserve had accumulated 24.24 Tg carbon (22.57–26.62 Tg C) until 2010, of which 90.68% was contributed by soil organic carbon and aboveground carbon. A total of 95% of the carbon storage in Shennongjia National Nature Reserve were contributed by evergreen broad-leaved forest, deciduous broad-leaved forest and coniferous forest. Between 1990 and 2010, the aboveground carbon pool and soil organic carbon pool increased 14.50 kt C (11.81–18.31 kt C) and 6.84 kt C, respectively. The carbon density inside the reserve was 22.37 t C/ha higher than that outside the reserve. Our results indicate that the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve is efficiently conserving forest carbon.

【Keywords】 Shennongjia National Nature Reserve; carbon sequestration; conservation effectiveness; forest ecosystem; carbon pool;


【Funds】 Special Project of Science and Technology Basic Work (2015FY1103002) National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC050330304)

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This Article


CN: 11-3247/Q

Vol 26, No. 01, Pages 27-35

January 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Data and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • Supplementary Material
  • References