China has returned more than 24 million hectares of farmlands to
forests since 1999, Xinhua learnt from a national conference on
forestry work held 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
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 (about
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.
(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2007)