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Progress Achieved in Forest Program

China has so far converted some 13.4 million hectares of hillside farmland into forest, according to the latest survey from the State Forestry Administration.

The project to turn farmland into forest covers 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and is aimed to solve the problem of land erosion. Over 90 percent of the forest created has been protected well.


In the past five years, the Chinese government has allocated 23.6 billion yuan (US$3 billion) to the project, of which 16.8 billion yuan (US$2 billion) was used as compensation for farmers. Statistics show 60 million rural families have benefited from it.


Bai zhanfu, a farmer in northwestern Shaanxi Province, said his annual income has jumped nine times from 1999, when his family turned 1.3 hectares of farmland into woods. The income rise came from the intensive cultivation of the remaining farmland, plus the compensation from the government, he said.


The project to convert hillside farmland into forest started in 1999 in a bid to aid the country's afforestation campaign.


(Eastday.com October 6, 2003)


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