Local governments urged to enhance desertification control

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 17, 2011
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China's State Forestry Administration on Thursday said the performance assessment of local government leaders should be linked with their achievements in desertification control and prevention.

Jia Zhibang, head of the administration made the suggestion in a national video-phone work conference.

Jia said that curbing the desert expansion and improving the ecology in desert regions should also be viewed as "important achievements" of local government leaders.

"By using desertification control as a tool to assess the performance of the local governments, we can expect to see some provinces and regions taking the initiative to prevent desertification and improve the environment," Jia said.

"Their good methods, meanwhile, can also be followed by other provinces and regions," he added.

The Chinese government last month announced that it had started a subsidy program for herdsmen to protect the country's grasslands in eight provinces and autonomous regions, including Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet.

The budget for the program is more than 13 billion yuan (about 2 billion U.S. dollars) for the five consecutive years from 2011. The program was launched Thursday in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.

China has about 6 billion mu (400 million hectares) of natural grasslands, the second-largest in the world in terms of area. Climate change, excessive grazing and rural development have caused damage to 90 percent of these grasslands.

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