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Shanghai Launches "Urban Forest" Program
China's industrial center Shanghai launched its "urban forest" program Tuesday, hoping to create another 130,000 hectares of woodlands for the city in about 20 years.

As China's most prosperous business and commercial center, Shanghai is better known for its "forest of skyscrapers," but with only 9.4 percent of woodland coverage, it only has about one third of the world's average.

The Shanghai municipal government is planning to raise its forest coverage to 30 percent when the "urban forest" program is completed in 2020.

Through eight planned 500-meter-wide forest corridors, fresh air can blow from the suburbs and the sea into the downtown area and then improve the ecological environment there, said experts from Shanghai municipal department of agriculture and forestry.

The city is to plant another two forest belts around the downtown area and the suburbs, together with six major forest areas, according to the experts.

The government would provide most of the funds for the public forest like the coastal shelter forest and water-conservation forest, but investment from overseas and the private sector was "necessary" to complete the program.

To encourage private and overseas investment in the urban forest, Shanghai has unveiled policies to allow "moderate" development of luxurious housing, tourism and recreational projects in major forest belts.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2002)

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