In 2002 China's forestation efforts resulted in 7.47 million hectares of land planted with trees, 1.6 times as much land as in 2001, the People's Daily reported on Friday.
Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Administration of Forestry, said the accelerated pace of the country's forestation work over the past year generated substantial ecological and economic benefits.
Of the 4.13 million hectares of farmland which was converted into forest over the past year, about 2.16 million hectares has been set aside for ecological conservation.
Thanks to the efforts of 540 million volunteers, a total of 2.3 billion seedlings were planted last year.
Meanwhile, the country's investment in forestation also rose by 90 percent from 16.7 billion yuan (US$2.01 billion) in 2001 to 34.7 billion yuan(US$4.18 billion) in 2002.
In addition to government funding, growing numbers of private investors are entering the forestation sector, bringing with them an emphasis on environmental protection.
(cctv.com.cn January 4, 2002)