Building lasting partnerships for Terrestrial Carbon Accounting in China
The success of any program hinges on the participation and ownership taken by the stakeholders. Communication among the stakeholders is a key for their active participation in building and implementing multi-national programs. To build a strong working relationship with our partners at the Forest Carbon Accounting and Monitoring Center (FCAMC), under the auspices of the State Forest Administration (SFA), China, our US-based team visited Beijing for working meetings over August 15-17, 2016.
Day 1 – We began with the very first handshakes with our partners, Dr. Gao Xianlian and Dr. Liu Yinchun with whom we having been working via the internet for over 2 years, during the development of the project proposal. It was a great feeling to finally meet them in person. We quickly jumped into a half-day symposium on the TCAIAP, where our partners brought in experts from all the key constituencies to exchange ideas with us. They provided us information on ongoing work on climate change, forest inventories, biomass modeling and generating internal funds for reducing carbon emissions. It was a very informative session. China is ahead of many countries in the region in forest inventory and biomass modeling, crucial for terrestrial carbon accounting (TCA).
In the afternoon we had an opportunity to visit the FCAMC office and meet their staff. We were joined by Dr. Zhang Xiaoquan, Deputy Director, The Nature Conservancy, China. We had a great brainstorming session which covered a wide variety of topics from IPCC guidelines for TCA and GHG inventories to remote sensing, GIS, data security and project management. It was followed by a presentation of the preliminary results of Gap Analysis of curriculum related to TCA in China by Dr. Liu Yinchun.
Day 2 – Drs. Gao Xianlian, and Liu Yinchun took us to a carbon flux field study at Badaling, Yanqing. From the heart of Beijing we crossed six ring roads to reach the field site. On the way Dr. Gao provided a brief history of Beijing, its rulers and rich cultural heritage. We were impressed by the management of the city with 20 million people. A long drive in a van was also a good opportunity for us to know each other at the personal level. At the carbon flux study site , we were greeted by Prof. Jia Xin from Beijing Forestry University, who has been monitoring carbon flux in an afforestation site. He briefed us on his project and its role in monitoring carbon flux in China. We also visited an afforestation project under the clean development mechanism (CDM) in Yanquing and one of the 415,000 permanent sampling plots that SFA uses for the inventory and monitoring of forests across the country.
Day 3 – Dr. Sun Zhongqiu from FCAMC accompanied us to visit the Great Wall of China. It was another opportunity to exchange ideas and learn the culture and become comfortable with the partnership. We topped up our trip with a wonderful dinner meeting with our partners.
We returned with more even enthusiasm on building together a strong TCA curriculum for capacity building crucial to implement Paris Agreement on Climate Change.