Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Tree growth has potential

By Hu Angang (China Daily) Updated: 2011-06-13 08:54

A long-term strategy for forest development should be an important part of China's bid to promote a green economy

In a move to raise public awareness, strengthen forest management and conservation, as well as promote afforestation, the United Nations declared 2011 as the "International Year of Forests".

Undoubtedly, increased worldwide efforts to protect forests and promote a green economy will offer China's forest industry rare opportunities for further development.

In its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for national economic and social development, China put particular emphasis on promoting scientific development and the transformation of its economic development model. As the first-ever national document to orientate China toward sustainable development and combat environmental degradation and the effects of climate change, the five-year plan shows the importance China has attached to the construction and development of the conservation of resources and an environmentally friendly society.

To fulfill its international commitments in dealing with climate change, the 12th Five-Year Plan commits China to raising its forest coverage ratio to 21.66 percent by the end of 2015 and increasing its forest stock volumes - an important index to reflect a country's forest quality and measure its forest ecology and forest carbon-sink capability - by 600 million cubic meters by that time. This crucial period in China's economic transformation provides a rare opportunity for the country to expand its forest development area and improve its forest carbon-sink capacity.

To promote a green economy, China should lay down a long-term comprehensive forest development strategy in which "green development" and "green innovation" should be regarded as an important part of the country's forest economy.

To this end, China should maintain the development momentum of the current forest industry and, based on its rich forest resources, step up development of such green industries as biomedicine and forest-related tourism, in a bid to form a larger-scale green-industry belt.

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