Published: Sunday 31 October 1999

Concern for the country's deforestation and resulting damage to the ecosystem is becoming a major issue in China, reports the China Daily. The government and the people are considering it important to improve the forest ecosystem and increase forest cover from the present 13.9 per cent to 19.4 per cent within the next 10 years, according to the state administration of forestry. Four million hectares of land have been forested and 2.4 billion trees have been planted during the past 20 years.

According to reports in newspapers, China has successfully preserved 34.3 million hectares of forests, ranking it first in the world. More than one-third of the country's provinces and autonomous regions have taken advantage of waste land suitable for tree planting. Since 1978, the country has launched 10 key afforestation projects including building shelter forests in northern, northeastern and northwestern China with a view to fend off wind and sand from the desert lands in the north. Moreover, trees have been planted along the Yangtze River for soil-erosion control; anti-desertification campaigns have been undertaken with the aim to curb the loss of arable land.

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