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More than Half of Chinese Plant Trees in 2006
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Fifty-five percent of eligible Chinese planted trees in 2006, 10 percent more than that in 2005, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) announced on Sunday.

China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress (NPC), passed a resolution in December 1981 calling for voluntary tree planting.

China's forest acreage reached 175 million hectares last year, raising the country's forest coverage to 18.21 percent, compared with 12 percent in 1981.

According to SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao, public green areas have increased from 3.45 square meters per capita to 7.89 square meters over the past 26 years.

Nevertheless, China's forest coverage and its per capita forest acreage are only 61.5 percent and 25 percent of the world average respectively.

Officials and experts hope more people can join in this national campaign.

"Those who plant trees in Beijing are mostly government officials, military personnel and suburban residents," said Yan Lin, an official with the tree-planting office in the municipality.

"Urban residents are doing less in this aspect, largely because there is limited areas in their neighborhood," he said. "Besides it's inconvenient for them to plant trees on the outskirts."

"There should be more than one way to grow more trees," said Ma Luyi, professor from Beijing Forestry University.

"For example, people can pay for professional tree growers to plant, which might be more effective in some cases, as not everyone know to grow trees especially in infertile soils."

In 2010, the forest coverage will reach 20 percent in China and 30 percent in 70 percent of its cities, said Cao.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2007)

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