China's forest coverage
has risen constantly for almost two decades, increasing the nation's
contribution to the world's carbon dioxide absorption, Zhu Lieke, deputy
director of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), said yesterday.
The world's forested area decreased by about 0.2 percent annually or 9.39
million hectares between 1990 and 2000, said Zhu, citing statistics from the
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
However, forests in China had been growing by 1.2 percent or 1.81 million
hectares every year in the same period, the highest growth rate in the world,
Zhu said at a press conference in Beijing.
The expanding forests had enabled the country to absorb more carbon dioxide
Experts estimated carbon dioxide absorbed by China's forests had risen from
470 million tons in 1990 to more than 500 million tons currently.
China led the world in forestation with 54 million hectares of cultivated
forest, according to SFA chief Jia Zhibang.
Since the drive for voluntary tree-planting and forestation 26 years ago,
Chinese people had planted 49.2 billion trees, he added.
The country's forest coverage was 18.21 percent or 175 million hectares, and
its commodity timber coverage stood at 13.6 billion cubic meters, which would
grow by 500 million cubic meters annually, Jia said.
Research showed every new cubic meter of forest absorbed 1.83 tons of carbon
dioxide and emitted 1.62 tons of oxygen on average.