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To safeguard biodiversity, China designates 18% of its land as protected areas

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2020-09-25 11:25
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Workers plant trees by the Heihe River, a river originating from the Qilian Mountains, in Zhangye, Gansu province, last year. FAN PEISHEN/XINHUA

China has made 18 percent of its land territory protected areas as it endeavors to enhance biodiversity protection, Huang Runqiu, minister of Ecology and Environment, said in a ministerial roundtable on Thursday.

More than 90 percent of land ecosystem types in the country and nearly 90 percent of wildlife species listed as key ones for national protection have been protected, he added, addressing the conference themed "Biodiversity Beyond 2020: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth".

The roundtable saw participation by ministerial-level representatives from 17 countries and members and seven international organizations via an online platform.

He said China managed to expand its afforested areas by about 70.39 million hectares in the past 10 years, which outnumbers the increase in each of all the other countries in the world during the same period of time.

The country has attached great importance to mobilizing civilian organizations and the public to participate in afforestation. Ant Forest, a mobile app that rewards users with virtual energy that they can use to have trees planted, for example, has over 500 million users, he said.

Thanks to the platform, about 1.12 billion trees have been planted in the past three years, which has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7.92 million metric tons, he said.

With the app, people can get the virtual energy when they take low-carbon actions such as walking or using public transport instead of driving.

"As to biodiversity protection, China has insisted on giving priority to ecosystem protection and sticking to green development path," he said.

He also reiterated that China will stick to multilateralism and continue to deepen international exchange and cooperation to promote biodiversity protection.

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