In the past 40-some
years, China has accumulatively improved 670,000 sq km of soil-eroded
areas, and the forest coverage rate has increased to 13.92 percent.
Some achievements have also been made in natural environmental protection,
with 151 model ecological zones. There are 1.146 nature reserves all
over the country, including 137 national nature reserves. The largest
project for the transformation of the ecological environment is the
“Three-Norths” (Northwest, North and Northeast) Shelterbelt Project.
Following the beginning of the construction of this 7,000-km “Green
Great Wall” in 1978, more than 18 million ha of areas had been afforested,
21 million ha of fields had been protected by trees and about 20 percent
of desertified land had been improved by 1996. The construction of
another two projects—he shelterbelts on the middle and lower reaches
of the Yangtze River and the coastal shelterbelts—is being speeded
up. At present, the Chinese natural ecological environment is still
very weak, and water erosion, desertification and degeneration of
grasslands are worsening with each passing day, thus weakening the
ecological functions of windbreaks, sand fixation, water storage,
soil preservation, and the protection of biological diversification.
Hence, the Chinese government is taking measures to implement the
National Program for the Construction of the Ecological Environment
in an all-round way, while paying great attention to the prevention
and control of pollution and the protection of the ecological environment.