Author(s): Roger A. Williams
Title: Mitigating Biodiversity Concerns in Eucalyptus Plantations Located in South China
Publication type: open access journal article
China’s growing economy and changes in policies that encourage afforestation, particularly in the industrial sector, have led vast areas in south China to be planted with eucalyptus. These large areas of eucalyptus plantings have elicited environmental concerns for two primary reasons. First there is a concern related to the water demand of eucalyptus, in which it is feared these large areas of eucalyptus will deplete aquifers and create shortages in water supplies. The second concern is in regard to the reduction in biodiversity across large landscapes, leading to further ecological demises. This paper proposes two ideas to possibly mitigate some of the biodiversity concerns. The first is the interplanting of alder-leaf birch (Betula alnoides), a native but dwindling species in south China, to enhance biodiversity and encourage it’s reestablishment across the landscape. The second is to encourage retention harvests of alder-leaf birch planted within eucalyptus plantations to enhance not only biological diversity but also structural diversity across the landscape. Alder-leaf birch has demonstrated great potential in producing high quality timber and wood for use in furniture manufacturing.