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Forestry industry loses 57.3 bln yuan in winter storm
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Severe winter this year has cost China's forestry sector 57.3 billion yuan in losses, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) announced Tuesday.

The worst winter in five decades in some areas damaged 20.86 million hectares of forests, one tenth of the total, setting back efforts to meet a national 20-percent forest coverage target by 2020, according to the administration.

The weather also caused damage to 1,781 state-owned forest farms and 1,200 nurseries, and killed or injured up to 30,000 protected wild animals, SFA deputy director Zhu Lieke told a news conference.

The country's forest sector had little experience in dealing with such events, Zhu admitted

A raft of measures have been adopted to help the restoration of forest farms, Zhu said.

Subsidies for replanting and loans would be offered to the affected farmers, and certain fees would be waived, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2008)

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