Afforestation has been implemented worldwide as regional and national policies to address environmental problems and to improve ecosystem services. China’s central government launched the Grain for Green Program (GGP) in 1999 to increase forest cover and to control soil erosion by converting agricultural lands on steep slopes to forests and grasslands. Here a variety of satellite data products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer were used to assess the biophysical consequences of the GGP for the Loess Plateau, the pilot region of the program. The average tree cover of the plateau substantially increased because of the GGP, with a relative increase of 41.0%. The GGP led to significant increases in enhanced vegetation index (EVI), leaf area index, and the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by canopies. The increase in forest productivity as approximated by EVI was not driven by elevated air temperature, changing precipitation, or rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Moreover, the afforestation significantly reduced surface albedo, leading to a positive radiative forcing and a warming effect on the climate. The GGP also led to a significant decline in daytime land surface temperature and exerted a cooling effect on the climate. The GGP therefore has significant biophysical consequences by altering carbon cycling, hydrologic processes, and surface energy exchange and has significant feedbacks to the regional climate. The net radiative forcing on the climate depends on the offsetting of the negative forcing from carbon sequestration and higher evapotranspiration and the positive forcing from lower albedo.
The GGP was launched in 1999, and its goals are to increase forest cover and to mitigate soil erosion by converting agricultural lands on steep slopes to forests and grasslands. These agricultural lands are typically characterized by low productivity and intensive soil erosion. The famers with loss of croplands are subsidized by grain and cash subsidies for up to 8 years. --> note although mentions conversion to grasslands, only appear to be investigating the areas converted to forests
|Climate change impacts||Effect of Nbs on CCI||Effect measures|
|Other climate impact||Unclear results||OTH = changes in local temperatures Measures = albedo, evapotranspiration (both proxies to understand how temp may be affected because these measures influence local temperatures), day and nighttime land surface temperature (LST)|
|Biomass cover loss||Positive||enhanced vegetation index (EVI) as a measure of forest productivity, leaf area index (LAI), photosynthetically active radiation (fPAR), GPP|
The entire Loess Plateau - The plateau consists of the entirety of two provinces (or autonomous regions)—Shanxi and Ningxia—and portions of five provinces (or autonomous regions): Shaanxi, Henan, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Qinghai