Project on Forests Protection Operational

Nearly 100 billion yuan (US$12 billion) will be spent within next 10 years to protect natural forests in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River.

As part of the Monumental Protection Project, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region this month is the first to start its protective operation.

The increasing deterioration of biological sphere along the Yellow River, the second longest river in China, has resulted in severe soil erosion, silting-up and frequent drying-up, which, to a large extent, has hampered economic development in the whole Yellow River valley, according to Xinhua News Agency.

In Inner Mongolia, forest coverage is only 5 percent while soil erosion area amounted to 10 million hectares, with 180 million tons of sand pouring to the river every year.

China is developing vast western regions as its long-term sustainable development strategy, biological protection and reconstruction were also high on the agenda.

“Biological improvement is the cornerstone and starting point for the west development. It will be handled with top priority as a key component of the infrastructure," said Zhang Zhongfa, a researcher from the Development Research Center of the State Council.

The heavy floods last year showed intolerable devastation of the biological environment, which highlighted the country's determination to conduct comprehensive and intensive amelioration work to restore the biological balance, Zhang added.

The project concerning the two rivers involves 13 provinces, autonomous regions and Chongqing Municipality.

In the Yellow River area, officials are working to halt deforestation and help preserve the forests in the region.

( 10/23/2000)

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