Major Investment for Protection of Tropical Forests

The southern Chinese island province of Hainan will invest 300 million yuan (US$36.14 million) to protect natural tropical forests on the island in the next decade.

Information from the local government revealed the financing covers state financial allocations worth 240 million yuan (about US$28.91 million) and supporting investments by different localities of Hainan totaling 60 million yuan (US$7.23 million).

Experts believe that with the investment, natural tropical forests will be better protected and restored.

Hainan is China's largest region of natural tropical forests. It has 613,000 hectares of natural forests, of which, 319,000 hectares are under state protection. The island is home to 4,600 kinds of vascular bundle plants, of which, 800 kinds are of higher economic value and 2,500 kinds can be used for medicinal purposes.

Though Hainan has built 18 protection zones on the island, the forest cover on the island has been decreasing rapidly in the past years due to the increased human activity, putting the island's biological diversity under threat, said local sources.

The primitive forest coverage of the island was 25.7 percent in 1956, for instance, but by now, the rate has dropped to about four percent. In the past four decades, at least six kinds of plants have become extinct on this southern Chinese island.

(Xinhua 01/07/2001)

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