China's forested area reached 175 million hectares in 2003 for a forest coverage rate of 18.2 percent, the State Forestry Administration announced in Beijing on Tuesday.
China's forested area increased by 16.0 million hectares from 2000 to 2003. The rate of forest coverage rose 1.7 percentage points, from 16.6 percent, in the period.
The data come from the nation's first complete survey of forest coverage in five years.
More than 20,000 scientists and forestry workers were mobilized to conduct a nationwide inventory of forest coverage. Starting in 1999 and completing their task in 2003, they used satellite imaging and monitoring technologies as well as on-site observations to gather data concerning accumulation, composition, distribution, growth and consumption as well as the influence of forests on the environment.
The figures do not include areas planted since 2003.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2005)