BEIJING: The lingering drought in Southwest China has caused heavy forest losses, said the State Forestry Administration (SFA) Thursday.
The drought has damaged saplings, held back forestation efforts, led to forest fires and spoiled the habitat for wild animals, said the SFA.
The SFA data showed the drought has so far affected 78.83 million mu (about 5.26 million hectares) of forest, causing a direct economic loss of over 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion).
The SFA said it has already sent experts to guide drought relief and allocated 13.4 million yuan of materials and cash to fight forest fires.
Since autumn last year, southwest China, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Chongqing Municipality, has received only half its annual average rainfall and water stores are depleted.