Logging ban

Authorities plan reforestation scheme to combat floods

Published: Thursday 15 October 1998

A ban on logging will be imposed in the Jinsha river basin in the Yunnan province of China. The authorities have planned to launch a reforestation drive to check floods in the future. Massive floods have wrecked havoc in China in the past few months. Earlier, a similar ban on logging was imposed in the Sichuan and Heilongjiang provinces after floods along the Yangtze and Songhua rivers claimed lives and destroyed property.

Deforestation has caused extensive soil erosion in more than half of the Jinsha River basin, sending 260 million tonnes of sediment every year into the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze. According to the experts, the clearing of forests to create farmlands has been responsible for 70 per cent of the soil erosion which has occurred in the Yangtze basin.

Production of rice in the south and maize, rice and beans in the northeast has badly been effected due to flooding in Yangtze, Songhua and Nen river basins, said Chen Yaobang, minister for agriculture. He added that the ministry is taking steps to improve agricultural production in order to achieve a normal autumn harvest.

Yunnan is the biggest exporter of timber and the ban on logging will mean that thousands of people, who were engaged in the timber industry, will lose their jobs, unless they are provided employment in the reforestation scheme. A similar ban in Sichuan province resulted in about 100,000 people losing their jobs.

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