Carbon offsets from bamboo plantations go on sale to Chinese companies after method to calculate amount of carbon stored in bamboo ecosystems developed by partners including Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University is approved

BOGOR, Indonesia , December 14, 2012 (press release) – Chinese companies can now buy carbon offsets from local bamboo plantations, thanks to a new accounting method that can determine how much carbon is stored in these unique, rapidly-expanding ecosystems.

The methodology – developed by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and its Chinese partners The China Green Carbon Foundation and the Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University was approved last month by the state forestry administration.

“This is a really big breakthrough,” said Yannick Kuehl, a climate change expert at INBAR who helped develop the technique. “This means that now bamboo is recognised as carbon offset, and as a tool for climate change mitigation measures.”

Although it makes up just 2.8% of China’s total forest area, bamboo is one of the country’s fastest expanding and most valuable forest land uses. In the past 20 years, the bamboo sector in the country has boomed from subsistence farming to a US$14 billion industry.

New CIFOR research has shown that bamboo makes an important contribution to rural development in poor areas of China, both for subsistence and as cash income.

“China is a bamboo ‘kingdom’”, said Li Nuyun, Secretary General of the China Green Carbon Foundation.

“The multi-benefits generated from bamboo carbon plantations are an attractive asset in the carbon market.”

As plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the carbon in their cells – preventing it from contributing to climate change.

Different plants store carbon at different rates.

“Bamboo is a grass, not a tree, so it has very different growth characteristics – it grows a lot faster, up to a metre per day, and it is highly renewable – so that’s why we needed specific mechanisms to capture the benefits and advantages of bamboo,” Kuehl said.

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