Backgrounder: Impact of Climate Change on China

CHINA - Climate change, a global issue, has already had certain impacts on China's economy, ecosystem and other sectors.
calendar icon 5 June 2007
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Impact on Agriculture and Livestock Industry.

Climate change has already had certain impact on agriculture and livestock industry in China, primarily shown by the 2-to-4 day advancement of spring phenophase since 1980's.

Future climate change can affect agriculture and livestock industry in the following ways: increased instability in agriculture production, where the yields of three main crops, i.e. wheat, rice and maize, are likely to decline if no proper adaptation measures are taken; changes in distribution and structure of agricultural production as well as in cropping systems and varieties of the crops; changes in agricultural production conditions that may cause drastic increase in production cost and investment need; increased potential in aggravation of desertification, shrinking grassland area and reduced productivity that result from increased frequency and duration of drought occurrence due to climate warming; and potentially increased rate in disease breakout for domestic animals.

Impact on forest and other natural ecosystems

Climate change has brought impact on forest and other natural ecosystems in China. For example, the glacier area in the northwestern China shrunk by 21 percent and the thickness of frozen earth in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau reduced a maximum of 4-5 meters in recent 50 years. Future climate change continue to impact these ecosystems to some extent.

Firstly, the geographical distribution of major forest types will shift northward and the vertical spectrum of mountain forest belts will move upward. The distribution range of major tree species for afforestation or reforestation and some rare tree species is likely to shrink.

Secondly, forest productivity and output will increase to different extents, by 1-2 percent in tropical and subtropical forests, about 2 percent in warm temperate forests, 5-6 percent in temperate forest and approximately 10 percent in cold temperate forest.

Source: people's Daily Online
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