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China’s forest land use change in the globalized world economy: Foreign trade and unequal household consumption

Siyi Kan, Bin Chen, Mengyao Han, Tasawar Hayat, Hamed Alsulami and Guoqian Chen

Land Use Policy, 2021, vol. 103, issue C

Abstract: Considering the globalization of forest land use and the influence of China’s socio-economic process on forest resources, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of China’s forest land use change in the globalized world economy during 2000–2011, by means of embodiment accounting based on EXIOBASE3 database. External demand, primarily from USA, EU, Japan and rest of Asia-Pacific, accounts for 20−45% of China’s direct forest land use, meanwhile, increasing forest land use (50−60%) is displaced abroad, mainly to Russia (20−30%), America, Africa and rest of Asia-Pacific. Overall, China is a net importer of virtual forest land use due to large imports through forest products (e.g., wood, paper and pulp), while highly-processed non-forest products also contribute a dominant and increasing share in total exports. Consequently, in the trade with USA, Japan and many European countries, China is the net exporter of virtual forest land use, though it is the net importer of forest products as revealed by conventional monetary trade accounting, highlighting the necessity of the inclusive embodiment accounting to trace land use to actual final products. Regarding final consumption, virtual forest land use of rural households only reaches 65–75% that of urban households, due to large disparities in the consumption of non-forest products. Per capita virtual forest land use of the rural and urban poorest groups are only 1/5 and 1/6 of the nation’s richest group, respectively. Therefore, transnational cooperation is required to promote sustainable forest management worldwide. China should also prepare for growing demand for forest land and reduce associated environmental inequality in the process of urbanization and poverty alleviation.

Keywords: China; Forest land use change; Virtual land; International trade; Land use displacement; Environmental inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105324

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