Zhejiang Agricultural University scientifically calculates and transforms the “value” of forests to help rural revitalization

On October 10, at the launching ceremony of the first phase of the Shengzhou Green Co-Rich Project in Zhejiang Province, according to the accounting report of 3.7 billion yuan a year of Guimen Township Forest Ecosystem Product (GEP) by experts from Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, and the feasibility study report of Shengzhou Transportation Investment and Development Group Co., Ltd. “Shengzhou Green Co-rich Project (Phase I)”, the Shengzhou Branch of the Agricultural Development Bank of China officially granted a GEP loan of 950 million yuan to Shengzhou Transportation Investment and Development Group Co., Ltd. This has also become the first case in China to promote the transformation of ecological value and achieve the landing of common wealth projects through GEP accounting.

Launch ceremony site. Photo courtesy of Wang Yixiang’s team

Guimen Township is located in the southwest of Shengzhou City, with a total of 13 administrative villages, rich in ecological resources, is a “natural oxygen bar” and “urban green lung”. However, the overall income of Guimen Township is not high, how to open up the “green water and green mountains is the golden mountain and silver mountain”, so that the “green water and green mountain” in the “doorstep” has become a real “golden mountain and silver mountain” has become a major issue for the local government to promote common prosperity.

“Forests can not only produce wood and non-wood forest products for humans, but also provide fresh air, clean water sources and a comfortable climate environment, and also have a variety of functions such as water and soil conservation, water conservation, wind and sand fixation, and biodiversity conservation.” As an expert in the field of forest ecology and forestry carbon sinks, Professor Wang Yixiang of Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University believes that Guimen Township is very rich in forest resources, with a forest area of nearly 210,000 mu and a forest coverage rate of 91%, taking the lead in carrying out pilot and transformation of ecosystem gross domestic product (GEP) accounting.

Since 2021, Wang Yixiang’s team has cooperated with Shengzhou Jiaotong Investment Group in Zhejiang Province, and with the support of the government, selected the mountain forest of Guimen Township in Shengzhou City as a pilot, taking differentiated accounting ecological assets as a breakthrough, calculating a good “body value” for the local good landscape to strengthen the top-level design, and exploring the implementation of the Guimen Township Ecosystem Gross Domestic Product (GEP) Transformation Green Common Wealth Research Project.

During the implementation of the project, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University set up a professional team of nearly 30 people, spent nearly 4 months, and went into the mountains and villages more than 60 times to calculate the functional quantity and value of 12 kinds of ecological products such as water conservation, soil conservation, flood regulation and storage, carbon sinks, and oxygen release in the forest resources of Guimen Township, produced 260,000 pieces of data and 69 thematic maps, and innovatively completed the “valuation” of the ecological “treasure” of each hilltop plot in 13 administrative villages in Guimen Township, and found out the “value” of local forest resources. About 37 billion.

“Forest ecosystems have many functions and play a great role in the survival and development of human beings, but they are often overlooked. GEP can measure the sum of the final products and services provided by the ecosystem for human well-being and sustainable economic and social development in a certain period of time, mainly including the value of material products provided by the ecosystem, the value of regulatory services, and the value of cultural services. Wang Yixiang said, “GEP accounting is only the first step, we have put forward the concept of ecological product management right through GEP accounting.” Shengzhou Jiaotong and Guimen Township compiled the “Shengzhou Green Co-Prosperity Project (Phase I)”, which opened up one ecological value transformation blockage point after another, and obtained a credit of 950 million yuan from the Shengzhou Branch of the Agricultural Development Bank of China without spending a penny of the government, bringing common wealth funds and common wealth projects to Guimen Township.

“Getting credit funds does not mean the end of the conversion work. We hope that these funds will be used to promote the common prosperity project, and use it to develop rural industries, revitalize the village collective economy and increase farmers’ incomes in order to be regarded as the real transformation of GEP. For the use of credit loans, Chen Yuhong, deputy general manager of Shengzhou Jiaotong Investment Group, said, “The 13 administrative villages in the township have reported more than 190 projects of large and small sizes, in addition to the ‘upgrading’ of rural infrastructure, these funds will also be used for forest management, forest phase transformation, forest road construction, high economic value fruit tree seedling transplantation and other projects to benefit the people, improve the quality of life of the people, improve the local ‘hematopoietic’ function.” The forest management and protection fund alone can bring more than 4 million yuan of collective economic income to the whole township, and it is for 20 consecutive years, every year. ”

“With this solid ‘gift package’, it can help us better manage and utilize forest resources, while improving infrastructure construction, dressing up the village living environment, and creating a ‘golden business card’ for characteristic industries and cultural tourism.” Tong Xiaofang, mayor of Guimen Township, said that as the best ecological township in Shengzhou City, the smooth “realization” of ecological value will undoubtedly add great impetus to the high-quality development of Guimen Township.

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