Special issue on bamboo and climate change in China.
Subject: Bamboo (Environmental aspects)
Deforestation (China)
Deforestation (Influence)
Forests and forestry (China)
Forests and forestry (Environmental aspects)
Climatic changes
Authors: Cao, Z.H.
Zhou, G.M.
Wong, M.H.
Pub Date: 09/01/2011
Publication: Name: The Botanical Review Publisher: New York Botanical Garden Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New York Botanical Garden ISSN: 0006-8101
Issue: Date: Sept, 2011 Source Volume: 77 Source Issue: 3
Product: Product Code: 7949100 Forests & Parks NAICS Code: 71219 Nature Parks and Other Similar Institutions SIC Code: 0831 Forest products
Geographic: Geographic Scope: China Geographic Code: 9CHIN China
Accession Number: 268870363
Full Text: Preface

The world's forest ecosystems are estimated to store some 638 billion tonnes of carbon (C); more than the amount of C in the entire atmosphere. The overall C stored in living biomass decreased from 1990 to 2005, mainly due to deforestation in South and Southeast Asia, Western and Central Africa, and South America, although it remained relatively constant in Oceania, and even increased in East Asia (mainly China), Europe and North and Central America. Deforestation is considered a major contributor to global warming and is often cited as one of the major factors responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect.

The increase in C stock in China is mainly due to the success of forestation. Since 1980, the total forest area was 19.55 x [10.sup.7] ha, with a coverage of 20.4% of the total land area of China in 2010. Plantation and natural expansion of bamboo forests contributed significantly to this increase. Bamboo forests (dominated by Phyllostachy pubescens) are evergreen forests in tropical and subtropical regions, occupying about 1.5-2% of the world's total forest area. Bamboo plants grow fast, propagate rapidly and can be easily regenerated. During the fast growth stage, a growth rate of 1 m/day can be achieved. They can reach 35-40 m tall within one month (full grown), and can sustain vigorous growth over 100 years, under natural conditions.

The total area of bamboo forests increased from 165 x [10.sup.4] ha in 1950 to 484.3 x [10.sup.4] ha in 2005, with a yearly increase of 12.6x [10.sup.4] ha during the past 50 years. The bamboo forests are distributed in over 25 provinces in China, with half of them in Fujian, Jiangxi and Zhejiang Provinces. Bamboo is very efficient in the conversion of solar energy and can also be easily managed. Bamboo forests contribute greatly to C stock, as an important C sink on earth. In total, there are 22 million ha of bamboo forests in the world (making up about 1% of the tropical and subtropical woody forests in the world, with one third distributed in China). It is apparent that bamboo is an excellent wood substitute, with increasing production, while the world forest is shrinking.

With its potential in battling global climate change realized, there is an urgent need to disseminate sound scientific knowledge on bamboo ecosystems so as to maximize its contribution against this imminent threat. This special issue is therefore focused on some eminent issues related to bamboo forests, in relation to global climate change. The topics include C budgets of bamboo forests, solar energy conversion rates of bamboo forests, temporal and spatial dynamics of C fixation by bamboo plants, effects of genetic and species on biomass production of bamboo plantations, contribution and structure of soil C pools under bamboo stands, silicate weathering and bamboo phtoliths contributing to C sequestration, comparison of biomass production by different C4 plants and bamboo forests, and management practices, etc.

We would like to take use this opportunity to thank the authors for their contribution and the members of the Guest Editorial Board for their hard work, and Ms. Sue M. Fung for editorial assistance.

DOI 10.1007/s12229-011-9064-1

Published online: 10 June 2011

Z. H. Cao (1,2,4) * G. M. Zhou (2) * M. H. Wong (3,4)

(1) Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China

(2) Zhejiang Agriculture & Forestry University, Hangzhou 311300, China; e-mail: zhougm@zafu.edu.cn

(3) Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China; e-mail: mhwong@hkbu.edu.hk

(4) Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China

(5) Author for Correspondence; e-mail: zhcao@issas.ac.cn
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.