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7.87 million hectares of land turn into forests
Updated: 2005-02-13 16:31

By the end of 2004, local people in China's western regions had rehabilitated and cultivated 118 million mu (7.87 million hectares) of land into forests and had planted about 170 million mu (11.3 million hectares) of trees on barren land and mountains, according to the State Council's Office of the Leading Group for Western Region Development.

The country has improved about 190 million mu (12.7 million hectares) of seriously degenerated grassland in the western region since 2003, sources from the office said.

The west of the country is home to much of China's water sources and is the largest power provider for the nation. But, it has 80 percent of the nation's desert areas, and 70 percent of the country's most serious water and soil loss has occurred in the region.

Despite the problems in the western region, remarkable achievements have also been made in the past five years, thanks to the government's increasing financial assistance for ecological projects.

Major environmental projects like natural forest protection, sandstorm prevention and water pollution prevention are developing smoothly, according to the office.

Between 2000 and 2003, the region's annual GDP growth averaged 10 percent. The region has made substantial progress in infrastructure development in the past five years, with 60 key projects launched at a cost of 850 billion yuan (102.4 billion US dollars).

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