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Government plan will strengthen recovery work and planting of trees
China will take the strictest ever forest protection methods and ban all commercial logging of natural forests nationwide, forestry authorities announced on Wednesday.
For the natural forests in the core protection area, any production and other commercial activities will be also prohibited, Li Shuming, deputy head of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.
"Also, we will draft a plan to plant more trees with big diameters, and some rare tree species in areas with proper environmental conditions, to guarantee the country"s wood supply," Li said.
He also emphasized that forest land will not be occupied for other purposes.
The State Council recently released a plan to protect and restore the country"s forests, with the aim of reaching a total area of 200 million hectares by 2035.
According to the plan, a mechanism for forest protection and restoration will be built for all of the country"s natural forests by 2020.
By 2050, a fully functioning ecosystem will be complete, which will play a fundamental role in the country"s sustainable development goals.
"Under the plan, we will further strengthen the forest recovery work, encouraging forest planting on those abandoned mines and barren hills," Li said.
Moreover, he said the forestry department at all levels will enhance supervision on forest protection and restoration efforts. Supervision will be included in the local government"s annual achievement evaluation system.
"Also, we will encourage local residents to report activities that destroy forests to the local department," Li said.
China launched the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998. As of last year, the country owns 197 million hectares of forests, of which 64 percent are natural forests.
Thanks to the program, forest coverage in China has soared from 12 percent in the 1980s to 22.9 percent last year.
In the past two decades, the central government has spent more than 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) protecting about 129 million hectares of forest, of which 28.5 million were planted during that period.
The growing forest coverage benefits the local environment. Along the Yangtze River, for example, sand content dropped by 90 percent from 2000 to 2016.
Wildlife also benefits. According to the administration, the number of wild Siberian tigers in Northeast China increased from 10 in 1998 to 42 this year, and a rare North Chinese Leopard was recently spotted in Hebei province.
But forest protection and restoration also face challenges. According to Li, China"s forest area per capita is 0.16 hectares, only one-third of the world average. And its forest stock per hectare is 95 cubic meters, nearly 30 percent of that in Germany, a leading country in forest protection.
"We will conduct scientific restoration work in the future and enhance our country"s forest quality so that it plays a stronger role in ecological construction. Local departments will lead the work and we also welcome public participation," said Jin Min, director of the administration"s natural forest protection office.custom his and her braceletssilicone allergy braceletpersonalized light up braceletsembossed wristbandcheap custom rubber bracelets no minimum