China turns over 13.4 million hectares of farmland into forest
( 2003-10-05 11:56) (Xinhua)
China has so far turned a total of some 13.4 million hectares of hillside
farmland into forest, the latest survey from the State Forestry Administration
The project of turning farmland into forest covers 25 provinces, autonomous
regions and municipalities in China and over 90 percent of the forest created in
the project has been protected well.
In the past five years, the Chinese government has allocated 23.6 billion
yuan (US$3 billion) to the project, of which 16.8 billion yuan was used as
compensation for farmers. Statistics show 60 million rural families have
benefited from it.
Bai Zhanfu, a farmer in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, said his yearly
income has jumped nine times from 1999, when his family turned 1.3 ha of
farmland into woods. The income increase came from the intensive cultivation of
the remaining farmland, plus the compensation from the government, he said.
The project of turning hillside farmland into forest started in 1999 in a bid
to facilitate the country's afforestation campaign. The government offered funds
for saplings and compensation for farmers contributing farmland to the project.
Aiming to solve the problem of land erosion, the project, one of the major
afforestation projects in China, covers all the western, central and some
eastern provinces in China.