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China Launches 'Green Storm' Against Forest Destruction

The State Forestry Administration (SFA) released a blacklist of 10 major cases of forest destruction since 2003 on Wednesday, unveiling a national campaign to crack down on deforestation.


The 75-day-long campaign, which is organized jointly by the SFA and the Ministry of Public Security, is designed to "clean up" all the major cases of deforestation, said Lei Jiafu, SFA's deputy director general.


The 10 violators are accused of stealing forestland to build railways, highways, reservoirs and mines or poaching endangered wildlife. The SFA has set up special work teams to promote and supervise the investigation and handling of the cases, said Lei.


"The results will be released in June," he said, adding that governmental efforts to curb illegal logging have shifted from individual violators to violations by businesses and the government.


During the period from 1999 to 2003, more than 10 million hectares of forestland were misused and the annual illegally-logged timber volume exceeded 75 million cubic meters, SFA statistics show.


Local governments' greed and ineffective supervision of the forestry department were blamed as the major reasons for increasing deforestation violations in recent years.


In addition, an imprecise legal system of forest resources management and protection provides an opportunity for illegal activities, said Wang Zhuxiong, deputy director of the SFA's Forest Resources Management Department.


To tackle the problem, SFA has started to work out a special layout on forest management and protection to avoid the misuse of forests.


(Xinhua News Agency March 31, 2005)

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