Protecting China's coastal ecology from land reclamation will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, benefit the coastal economy and highlight the carbon-trading potential of coastal energy crops, say Jiang Gaoming, Dou Guanyi and Chen Bosen in an article in China Dialogue.
China's mangrove forest area has fallen from 500 to 150 square kilometres over the past 60 years as a result of reclamation and felling, with 15 per cent of construction in coastal areas taking place on reclaimed land.
Planting half of China's 347,000 square kilometres of saline soil with salt-tolerant crops could lead to 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide absorption, argue the authors, and reduce ecological degradation. This investment could also increase China's renewable energy sources and create many new jobs, they say.
The authors suggest that for every 667 square metres of reclaimed land, 300 square metres of mangrove forest; 130, 000 square metres of salt-tolerant energy forest; or 40,000 square metres of salt-tolerant energy crops should be restored.
They propose the creation of committees and associations to, amongst other objectives, plan carbon-trading mechanisms, research the economic and environmental impacts of low-cost crops in shoals and salt marshes and subsidise the planting of economic crops gained from land reclamation.
Link to full article in China Dialogue