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Forestry conference to tackle quality and restoration issues

By Zheng Jinran | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-10-25 21:24

Beijing is hosting the first regional congress for Asia and Oceania on forest science in a bid to promote regional innovation and sustainable growth.

The Region Congress for Asia and Oceania of International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) started on Monday and will last until Thursday. This is the first regional congress held in China, which is "a milestone in the history (of the organizations)" according to Micheal Wingfield, president of IUFRO.

IUFRO is the Global Forest Research Network, with more than 630 member organizations in 125 countries, and is one of the oldest and largest international research institutions in the world.

China has become the country with the fastest growth in forestry restoration, with the largest area of planted forests in the world, covering over 69 million hectares, Chen Zhangliang, vice president of Chinese Society of Forestry, said at the opening ceremony.

The forest area in China has expanded to 208 million hectares, with the forest coverage reaching 21.66 percent after years of protection, he added.

But the per capita forest area in China is only one fifth of the global average, and the forest quality is not high. This has posed challenges to meet public demands of a good environment while also maintaining the ecological safety of the country, said Chen.

"The Asia-Oceania regions face the common tasks to increase the forest area and restore the worsening forest ecology system," he said.

The population of Asia-Oceania region accounted for half of the global total, while the forest size only occupied 20 percent, and the uneven distribution among countries has worsened the situation.

Regional cooperation is needed for the sake of forests, the environment and people’s livelihood, Luo Fuhe, vice chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s political advisory body, said at the opening ceremony.

"We hope, through this platform, the countries in the region could reach agreement on the urgency in forest research, and promote the innovation among governments and organizations to improve the forest quality and better serve for the people living in," said Luo.

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