NE China bans logging in China's largest forest

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Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province has banned logging in the country's largest forest for 10 years, to protect the natural environment and reduce China's carbon dioxide emissions.

Lumbering will be forbidden in the Great and Lesser Hinggan Mountains (GLHM) in Heilongjiang Province from 2011 until 2020, in accordance with the GLHM Forest Protection and Economic Reform Program issued recently by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Forestry Administration.

China's largest natural forest reserve, the GLHM forest is over 430,000 square kilometers in size. It spreads across Heilongjiang and into neighboring Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

In Inner Mongolia, logging in the GLHM will be reduced by more than half, to 1.27 million cubic meters in 2011, and be completely banned by 2020, Zhang Guobao, deputy director of NDRC, said Sunday at a meeting in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang.

The GLHM forest reserves are expected by 2020 to increase by 400 million cubic meters, Zhang said.

In Nov. 2009, China pledged by 2020 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent of 2005 levels.

Zhang said one way for China to keep the pledge is by increasing the size of the nation's forests by 40 million hectares.

The logging ban will help enable the Great and Lesser Hinggan Mountains to reach a carbon exchange capacity of 732 million tonnes, Zhang added.

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