CHANGSHA - China has returned more than 24 million hectares of farmlands to forests since 1999, Xinhua learnt from a national conference on forestry work held here on Saturday.
China started the nationwide campaign of returning farmlands to forests in 2000, involving 124 million farmers of more than 32 million households in 25 provincial areas.
The campaign has contributed to more than 60 percent of the country's newly-made forest areas in recent years, according to the conference.
Farmers who were affected by the campaign had also received subsidies and grains, with subsidies accounting for almost ten percent of farmers' average annual income.
The government will earmark another 200 billion yuan (US$26 billion) to the campaign in the coming years, making the total investment reach 4.3 trillion yuan.
A special fund will also be established to consolidate the achievements of the campaign.
China has planted 53.3 million hectares of forests in the past 58 years, more than any other country in the world, with forestry coverage rate rising from 8.6 percent to 18.2 percent, according to the State Forestry Administration.
China will continue implementing key projects in forestation, including returning farmlands to forests and grasslands and preserving natural forests, with the aim of increasing forestry coverage to 20 percent by 2010.