Forest biomass resources and utilization in China
Under the context of climate change, persistent high oil prices and rapidly growing dependence on imported oil prompt China to pay much more attention to biofuels that provide environmental benefits besides fuel. China has rich biodiversity with 30 thousand high plant species and 154 kinds of energy trees could produce seeds containing more than 40% of oil, with total production of the seeds totaling 5 million t, and 200 x109 t of biomass production per year, which is equal to 2 x 109 t of petroleum. There are over 2000 types of wild and cultivated firewood plants in the country. So far there is 4 million ha raising oil-bearing trees planted on some land in different regions. Another 57 million ha of waste land are available and suitable for planting trees for the production of forest bioenergy. On part of these lands, the central government plans to cultivate a total of 13 million ha of high-grade bioenergy forests by 2020. This will yield 6 million tons of diesel that would be enough to fuel power plants with a combined capacity of 11 GW each year. Moreover, forest biomass plantations potentially offer many direct and indirect environmental benefits. In view of climate change their globally significant environmental benefits may result from using forest biomass for energy rather than fossil fuels.
Key words: Biomass energy, China, forest biomass resources.