CHINA China's forest coverage jumps to 21.66% in 70 years

CHINA

China's forest coverage jumps to 21.66% in 70 years

By Bai Yuanqi | People's Daily app

14:24, January 31, 2019

The forest coverage in China has jumped from 8.6% to 21.66% over the past 70 years as it continues to combat desertification and enhance afforestation. The area of its artificial forest reservation has reached 69.33 million hectares, the largest in the world.

The country attaches increasing importance to its green and ecological ambitions. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for long-term input and innovative approaches to consolidate and develop the green ecological barrier in north China as he spoke on the construction of the Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program (NASFP).

The forest coverage has increased to 13.57 percent from 5.05 percent in 1977 in areas where the NASFP was implemented.

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The Saihanba National Forest Park. (Photo: VCG)

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Saihanba Forest before trees were replanted. (Photo: Huai Fengming)

In northwest China’s vast and dry regions, over five million people have volunteered in afforestation programs, planting a total of 92.1 million trees, local officials said.

Even in urban areas the green coverage has reached 39.64 percent in 2018.

China’s wisdom of green efforts is quite simple: Just plant trees, and more trees. It planted sand-fixing forests in decertified regions to fight soil erosion and wind sand damage. The reduction in desertification over the past 40 years has dropped by 15 percent, thanks to precise planting.

Advanced technologies, including satellite remote sensing, are also used to protect forest resources.

The nation also drew inspiration from the poverty relief campaign. It combined promoting the green program with a rural vitalization strategy to enhance afforestation while increasing local residents’ income. 

Many provinces introduced forest and grass industries as a way to employ rural households. Official data showed that over 500,000 people living below China's poverty line have been employed as government-paid forest rangers through ecological poverty-relief programs.

The central government tilted policy support to green aims, including subsidies for companies participating in poverty reduction and boosting rural industrial sectors. The ecological and poverty-reduction cooperation covers wood processing bases and industrial parks, seedling cultivation, and forest ecotourism.

More than 1.6 million poor households have received government subsidies for giving up their reclaimed land.

China’s green outlook is promising, yet risks remain as parts of the environment are still fragile and prone to deteriorate.

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