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Forest Area Damaged by Pests Expands
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Pests like moths, wireworms and hares damaged 10.72 million hectares of forest across China in 2006, up 20 percent year-on-year and more than the new forest areas last year, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on Wednesday.


China recorded 292 major species of forest pests last year, an increase of 98 over the figure provided by the country's first nationwide investigation into forest pests that lasted from 1979 to 1983.


Of the total, 32 species were exotic and 16 had been introduced into the country since 1980.


Figures for economic losses caused by the pests in 2006 are not yet available, said SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao.


Pest control covered 6.03 million hectares in 2006, bringing major plant diseases under control, said Cao.


The number of forest rats declined from four to eight per mu (0.067 hectare) to just 0.4 per mu in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.


Meanwhile, four people died in seven cases of wasp attacks in the province last year while 36 died in 715 cases in 2005.


Cao said the SFA had listed the "extremely dangerous" American white moth, pine wireworm and forest rats and hares as the main targets of its efforts to control pests over the next five years.


American white moths were identified in 224,000 hectares of forest in Beijing, Tianjin and north China's provinces of Hebei and Liaoning last year, but control measures stifled disasters in the cradle.


(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2007)

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