The Inner Mongolia Keyihe IFM (Improved Forest Management) is a conversion of logged to protected forest located in the Greater Khingan Range of Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of northern China. Although Inner Mongolia is more so known for its green steppes and arid deserts, the Greater Khingan Range is host to old-growth forests that have been used for hunting by the Oroqen and Evenki peoples for centuries. In recent years, logging has become the predominant economic activity within the region due to economic hardship that has persisted since the occupation of Manchuria.
The Project was launched at the beginning of January 2013 in partnership with the Keyihe Forestry Bureau. The bureau has ensured that the commercial harvesting of timber has ceased by strictly prohibiting the formerly-annual harvest and only allowing forest tending and managing activities, in addition to promoting the values of environmental protection within the surrounding region. The project encompasses 20,526 hectares within a greater 214,078 hectares protected area and is predicted to reduce GHG emissions by around 3.9 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) over its 30 year duration, with an average annual emission reduction of about 128,563 tCO2e.
Due to the historical deforestation of Keyihe, the local forestry bureau has shifted its focus from timber production to ecological restoration and forest preservation. This has in turn affected employment in this poverty-stricken part of Inner Mongolia, thankfully jobs related to forest management have replaced those of logging. Since project approval, 200 jobs have been created each year, with the total number of forestry workers currently standing at 2,358. The transformation of this land, which now produces carbon offsets, is expected to increase the annual income for local residents by about 9 million CNY (1.3 million USD).
Coniferous forests dominate the floral zone of the Greater Khingan Range and the Keiyihe IFM project. Larch and birch trees are the most common types of vegetation, mixed with aspen, oak, and riverbank willow. Prior to project implementation, the quantity and biodiversity of wild animals and plants had been reduced due to years of timber harvest. Nevertheless, a variety of animals still populate the region, including birds like the Daurian Redstart, Hazel Grouse, and Bohemian Waxwing. Larger mammals such as the Manchurian Wapiti, Siberian Roe Deer, and Eurasian Lynx are also native to the region. Flowering plants include Chinese Gentian, Chinese Buckthorn, and Siberian Crabapple.
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China