CHINA planted trees and shrubs on a record 10.7 million hectares, or about 1% of its territory last year, thanks to massive investments in afforestation, forestry officials said.
Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Forestry Administration, said the central government funding for afforestation projects grew by 26% year-on-year to 42.9bil yuan (RM20bil), involving projects to protect natural forests, return farmland to woodland, and the countrys six major afforestation schemes.
The programme to protect the countrys natural forests has reduced timber output by a total of 320 million cubic metres since it was launched in 1999, and 27.6 million hectares of farmland and barren hills and land have been returned to woodland or planted with trees, which benefited 97 million farmers financially and ecologically, said Zhou.
China had planted a total of 1.56 million hectares of forests since 1978 in northern China, building shelter-belt forests that stretched 4,480km from north-west to north-east China in 13 provincial areas.
Chinas nature reserves have been expanding rapidly, totalling 13.2% of the countrys land.
Following devastating flooding in the Yangtze River in 1998, China banned logging of its natural forests and launched nationwide campaigns to return farmland in ecologically delicate areas to woodland or grassland in 1999. People's Daily
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