As part of efforts at carbon capture and actively tackling climate change in China, a forestation project has been launched in the central province of Hubei at a total investment of over $845,000 from the local government and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Under the carbon sequestration programme, some 667 hectares of black locust, Liquidambar formosana and four other broadleaf trees will be planted in the province to help absorb carbon emissions and improve the local ecological system.

Up to 400 ha of forest will be planted over a 20 year period in the eastern suburbs of Wuhan, the provincial capital, during the first phase of the project. The programme will seek more funds for the second stage, though the location of the remaining forest is yet to be decided.

It is the first among a group of projects planned for seven regions including Beijing, Heilongjiang, Zhejiang and Guangdong, which would jointly absorb up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 10 years, according to the State Foresty Administration (SFA).

“China will continue to work actively to tackle climate change,” Zhang Jianlong, Deputy Director of the SFA, told the launching ceremony.

The initiative is expected to gather experience for forestation and further carbon sequestration efforts in the region and encourage more participants in carbon emission reduction and environmental protection, said Zhu Jinshui, director with the provincial forestry administration.

Carbon sequestration, the capture and long-term storage of carbon in forests and soils or below water, is intended to reduce or slow the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration in vegetation and soils is currently the easiest and most immediate option.