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China 2020: A greener and leafier landscape
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-01 05:28

Nearly a quarter of China will be forested by 2020, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

The jungles in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, is seen in this aerial photo taken from a jetliner on July 11, 2005. [newsphoto]

Speaking in Beijing yesterday, one of the administration's top officials, Zhou Shengxian, said forest coverage will reach 23 per cent in the next 10 to 15 years, an increase of 5 per cent.

"The increase in forests will outpace what the country consumed or lost during the growth of its economy," he said.

Zhou, director of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), said his agency has outlined a new strategy for the goal of pushing forward forestry development in the years ahead.

Addressing a televised conference in Beijing yesterday, he said new layouts have been set for planting trees throughout China with measures adjusted to local conditions.

"China's forestry development is now entering a turning point with six key programmes to protect natural forests, wildlife and natural reserves, to prevent soil from eroding and grassland from turning into desert," Zhou said.

Forests have shrunk over the past few decades because of over-logging, he added, warning: "China's forestry industry still lags far behind its rapid economic growth. The present vegetation rate is only 61 per cent of the world's average."
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