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China Calls for Public Attention to Forests
China, for long having suffered a dearth of forests, is sparing no efforts to make itself greener to improve its environment and achieve sustainable development.

As an important part of the eco-conservation efforts, a series of publicity campaigns dubbed "paying attention to forests" have run for four years, aiming to increasing the Chinese people's awareness of forests and ecology.

The campaigns, jointly sponsored by the State Administration of Forestry (SAF) and five other institutions, concluded Tuesday when a group of journalists and media were awarded for their outstanding contributions to the publicity events across China.

Thanks in part to the efforts to raise awareness, the forestry sector has made enviable progress in the last few years.

Last year, 7.47 million hectares of trees were planted, 4.15 million hectares of farmland turned back into woods and 95.1 million hectares of natural forests put under proper protection, said SAF Director Zhou Shengxian.

Meanwhile, government spending in forestry surged 93 percent on an annual basis to 34.7 billion yuan (US$4.18 billion) last year.

Currently, China's forest coverage ratio stands at 16.55 percent. The figure is expected to rise to 26 percent in five decades, according to a government plan.

(China Daily January 15, 2003)

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