35 Billion Trees Planted in 20 Years

Volunteers in China have planted some 35 billion trees since the first National Tree Planting Day in 1981, official statistics have revealed.

Past experience has shown that calling on volunteers to plant trees is an effective way of making China a greener place, according to a report issued by a national afforestation promotion and monitoring organ.

To mark this year’s National Tree Planting Day, which is on March 12, the National Greening Commission, an organ under the State Council that promotes afforestation projects across the country, released a report yesterday in Beijing summing up its achievements and making suggestions for future work.

Afforestation in China has advanced with giant strides since the country began to reform and open up in 1978. All the completed and ongoing afforestation projects have benefited China both environmentally and economically.

According to the report, to date, of the over 9.6 million square km of land that makes up China, 158 million hectares are covered by forest.

As such, forest coverage has reached 16.55 percent of the total land area. In 1978, forest coverage stood at around 12 percent. The area of land that has been forested by people has reached 46.7 million hectares.

As for natural forest, 51 million hectares of trees on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River and in northeast China and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions are well protected by governmental measures, the report said.

After years of hard work, many more windbreaks have been planted, aiming to prevent the expansion of desert and to preserve the soil and water resources.

Under the Three-North Windbreaks Belt project, the state has planted more than 28 million hectares of windbreaks in its land areas including the upper and middle reaches of the state’s major rivers in northern, northwestern and northeastern China.

An official with the commission said that the organization’s objective in issuing the report on afforestation was to alarm the nation and make people realize that there is still a lot of work to do, even though many accomplishments have been made.

“We made all the statistics public so that Chinese people would know that we need to continue our endeavors until our skies are blue and our rivers clean,” said Zhou Lijun, a division chief with the commission.

Due to various factors, desertification, soil erosion, flooding, drought and other kinds of natural disasters still occur in China, and they are sometimes very harmful.

The report shows that every year, an average of 2,460 square km of vegetated land in China will deteriorate into desert and another 1 million hectares of land will suffer from serious soil erosion.

(China Daily 03/12/2001)

In This Series

Young Chinese Value Better Environment

Modern Forestry Industry Is Shaping

Sandstorm Days Are Numbered

Green Mountains and Rivers Project Launched



Web Link