Monkeys shivering with cold. Farmers weeping over their loss.
Trees damaged for miles after miles.
These are some of the video clips provided by the State Forestry
Administration (SFA) Tuesday to show the damage caused by the worst
winter in central and southern China in more than half a
About 18.6 million hectares of forests were destroyed or damaged
- it is equal to one-tenth of the country's green cover, or the
area afforestated between 2004 and 2006. The direct loss to the
forestry sector totaled 57.3 billion yuan ($8 billion), SFA
The icy weather not only destroyed crops and forests, but also
killed or injured about 30,000 animals under State wildlife
protection. The cause of most of the deaths and injuries was
"The damage to forest resources will have a negative impact on
China's ecology," Zhu Lieke, SFA deputy director, told a press
conference in Beijing Tuesday.
The disaster will make it difficult for China to meet its green
plan of raising its total forest cover to 20 percent of its land
area by 2010.
The difference between a farmland and a forest is that the
latter takes a much longer time to recover from a natural disaster,
forest experts said. They estimate it could take a bamboo forest
five years, fir forest 10 years, and broadleaf trees 20-50 years to
fully recover from the sleet battering.
"The entire ecological system could take even longer to get back
to normal," Zhu said.
The damage also means China may have to import bamboos, resin
and camellia oil or their substitutes to make up for their
Steps are being taken to help forestry companies and their
workers restore their business, Zhu said. The government will
provide subsidies and loans for reforestation.
(China Daily February 21, 2008)