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China's Afforestation Reported
First in World

China has preserved 46.7 million hectares of afforestation, ranking first in the world, Director of the State Forestry Administration Zhou Shengxian said Tuesday in Beijing.

China's six largest green projects for the 21st century will all exceed in scale renowned world-level ecological projects, including Stalin's plan in the former Soviet Union, Roosevelt's project in the United States and the green programs in North Africa, Zhou told a working conference on forestry.

"In contrast to the forest coverage rate of 8.6 percent in the early 1950s, 16.55 percent of China's territory is currently covered with 158.7 million hectares of forest," Zhou said.

Sixty-five percent of China's farmland is interlaced with trees, and 20 percent of controllable deserted land has been harnessed, Zhou said.

Zhou said that by the end of 2000, China had set up 909 nature reserves, occupying over 100 million hectares, about 10.63 percent of China's territory.

China has built 1,078 forest parks and yields 67 million tons of economic forestry products per year. The laws and regulations on forestry issued by the National People's Congress and the State Council have greatly improved the legislation on forestry, he said.

However, Zhou said the average of forest per person in China is only one fifth of the world level.

"With 400 million people affected by desertification, 166.7 million hectares of China's land has been encroached upon by deserts, involving 18.2 percent of the total territory."

"Five billion tons of soil are washed away in China every year," he said.

The six planned large green projects, involving over 97 percent of China's counties, will fundamentally improve China's ecological conditions, he said.

(People’s Daily January 23, 2002)

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