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Project Launched in North China to Increase Forest Coverage

Liaoning Province in northeast China is to launch a 10-year environment improvement program to return 1,713,255 acres of arable land in its central and northwestern mountainous areas to forests.

The afforestration project is one of the province's seven major environment protection projects for the next decade, a provincial forestry official said over the weekend.

The program, a major measure of the province to promote agricultural restructuring and increase farmers' income, will be carried out in 50 counties in these areas, which are suffering from severe soil erosion and desertification.

The province will also launch a natural forest protection program, banning timber felling in 34 counties in the eastern part.

Trees and grass will be planted along major highways, railways and riverbanks, aiming at increasing the green coverage rate in these places to 90 percent in five years.

The province also plans to develop three million hectares of high-yield timber forest, which will be able to provide 51 million cubic meters of timber.

In addition, some 47 nature reserves will be set up across the province covering a total area of 1.38 million hectares.

(Xinhua News Agency March 16, 2002)

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