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China Plans to Check Severe Biodiversity Loss in Five Years

China has mapped out a plan to reverse the trend of the severe loss of its biological resources in the country in the next five years.


The plan, dubbed the National Program on the Protection and Sustainable Use of Biological resources, has been adopted at a meeting jointly held Tuesday by more than a dozen of government departments with the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) at the chair.


It will be submitted to the State Council, or the cabinet, for approval, said Xie Zhenhua, director of SEPA.


According to the program, China will check the "sharp decline "of biological species within the next five years, basically control the losses of its biological resources by 2015, and put the resources under effective protection by 2020.


A recent survey indicated that between 20 to 40 percent of bio-species in China are being threatened, with almost one species becoming extinct on a daily basis.


In the 1960s, China discovered 24 wild rice growing areas in Jinghong of southwest China's Yunnan Province, but now only one such area exists.


Due to environmental degradation, some breeding species for domestic animals and poultry in the country have become extinct.


A total of 37 species are on the verge of extinction.


The illegal collection and smuggling of wild plants and animals also contributes greatly to the country's losses of biological resources. Meanwhile, the invasion and rampant growing of alien species seriously threatens local fauna and flora.


China boasts some 3,000 species of plants, ranking third in the world behind Brazil and Columbia. It also has more than 6,300 species of vertebrate animals and 11,600 species of microbes.


Based on these resources, China has bred thousands of species of crops and domesticated hundreds of species of animals, poultry and fishes over the past centuries.


"The losses of biological resources have posed a grave threat to sustainable economic development in China," said Xie, noting the plan, when implemented, will play a significant role in the protection of such resources.


He called for the drafting of a special law to protect biological species, saying that this would be the only effective way to conserve such resources.


(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2005)


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