WASHINGTON, January 22, 2013 - the World Bank Board of Directors recently approved a loan of US$80 million to the People’s Republic of China to reforest and rehabilitate ice storm affected ecological forest plantations in Hunan Province to develop a stable forest ecosystem that can improve forest environmental functions and be tolerant of future disturbances and change – including those caused by climate change.
Hunan was one of the most severely affected provinces by an ice storm which struck central and southern China in 2008, with about 4.5 million hectares or 35 percent of its forest area partially or totally destroyed. Besides the loss in income resulting from damaged timber production, the destroyed forest areas were subsequently affected by insect and fire calamities that quickly turned them into degraded grasslands and bamboo shrub lands.
The Hunan Forest Restoration and Development Project will support programs to replant about 27,700 hectares of completely denuded forest land and rehabilitate partially denuded forest land by inter-planting about 18,600 ha combined with natural regeneration of about 12,600 ha of damaged ecological forest plantations.
In addition, support will be provided to upgrade two central nurseries and one provincial demonstration nursery to improve nursery management and produce high quality seedlings; establish and strengthen 22 farmer forest cooperatives for the purpose of replanting, rehabilitate and facilitate long-term management of ecological forest plantations; and applied research, capacity building and knowledge dissemination.
“The project will demonstrate innovative reforestation and rehabilitation models that promote diversified forest landscape and stable forest structure to enhance forest resilience and its environmental functions,” said Liu Jin, World Bank Senior Forestry Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project.
The project is expected to bring improvements to environmental conditions locally and globally in the form of reduced soil erosion, water and nutrient runoffs, increased biodiversity and landscape integrity, improved micro-climate and carbon sequestration. An estimated 26,130 rural households in 1,150 villages will directly participate in and benefit from the project.
The total financing required for the project is US$115.20 million, of which US$80 million will be financed by the World Bank loan. US$35.20 million will be provided by Hunan provincial and county governments and project participants.