China / Society

Beijing plans to carry out more afforestation in 2013

By ZHENG XIN ( Updated: 2012-12-26 20:29

The capital plans to cover more of the outskirts of Beijing with greenery in 2013, to form a stronger barricade against pollution.

The Beijing Landscape and Forestry Bureau said the city plans to turn another 23,300 hectares of barren and uncultivated land into green fields in the coming year. The city has converted 16,667 hectares for its green- belt program so far this year, finishing ahead of schedule.

The city also plans to convert a total of 66,670 hectares of wasteland into green belt by the end of 2016.

"The project, once implemented, will greatly reduce the concentration of PM 2.5, or particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrograms, in the capital's air and make the city a more pleasant place to live," said Xia Zhanyi, deputy mayor of the capital, during the plenary session of the capital's afforestation project on Wednesday.

The city also vows to further cover a total of 50,000 hectares of barren fields with greenbelts in the long run.

The capital plans to accomplish more than 90 percent of the 2013 afforestation project by the end of March.

The forest coverage on the plain area will be raised to 10.32 percent and reach more than 25 percent by the end of 2016, said Cai Baojun, inspector of the Beijing Landscape and Forestry Bureau.

More than 1.1 million yuan ($176,330) will be invested in the 2013 afforestation project and the criteria for investment also differs based on different kinds of land, including waste sand pits, returned land for construction purposes, wetland and others, said the bureau.

According to Shi Guisheng, deputy director of the bureau, private capital is welcome to fund the afforestation project, to ease the government's capital pressure.

Shi said the government would make every effort to strengthen the audit and supervision of the funds.

He also emphasized the importance of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of farmers' land, and conducting the afforestation work based on the free will of the farmers when it comes to demolition and evacuation.

"We should attach more importance to the meditation of disputes during the project," he said. "And it's also necessary to employ the farmers for green jobs, including pruning, pest control and forest resources and management tending.

According to Cai, the afforestation project in the city has learned some lessons from past experiences.

"Some greening projects in the past have seen poor supervision and monitoring, as well as unqualified technical measures and unclear duties," he said.

Cai said the capital has learned about forest maintenance and market management from other cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou.

According to the bureau, the area of selective examination after the trees are planted should be more than half of the total area, and the survival rate of the forests should also be more than 90 percent.

In addition, new technologies and material will be applied during the project to save water and help fight drought, and further ensure the engineering quality, he said.

The abundant varieties of trees and healthy forest ecosystems will greatly improve the city's ecological capacity and development sustainability, said Shi.

The 14 districts and counties will greatly benefit from the project in the long run, he said.

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