The country must do more to look after both the size and quality
of its forests, a top official with the Ministry of Forestry said
A comprehensive forest health assessment system is needed to
look after the country's forest resources, Li Yunkun, director of
forestation department of the Ministry of Forestry, said yesterday
at a national conference on forestry.
Li said unhealthy forests are vulnerable to pests, disease and
fire, which could eventually affect forest biodiversity.
Statistics show that China has 175 million hectares of forest,
including 53.26 million hectares of fast-growing artificial forest,
and forestry officials are planting more at a rate of 6 million-10
million hectares every year.
However, poor management of the country's forest resources has
left them vulnerable to damage. Twenty percent of the country's
forests are afflicted by disease or pests. Lack of biodiversity and
poor distribution are also problems.
Wu Bin, Party chief of Beijing Forestry University, said "the
rule of nature" should be applied when planting artificial forests,
otherwise the effect will be moot.
In Beijing, many forests in hilly areas are unhealthy, Gan Jing,
an official with the Beijing landscape and forestry bureau,
However, the capital has also had some successes. For example,
the Beijing Badaling forest project jointly run by China and the US
has been singled out as a preliminary success.
Under the Badaling forest project, 52 monitor stations have been
set up to keep track of disease and pests. And 1,500 personnel have
been trained in modern forest management skills.
Similar projects are also being conducted in Jiangxi, Guizhou,
Shannxi and Yunnan provinces.
(China Daily November 21, 2007)