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China sees rapid expansion of man-made forests
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Thanks to years of afforestation efforts, the acreage of China's man-made forests has exceeded 53.4 million hectares to rank the first in the world, an official with the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on Monday.

The country's forest coverage has risen to 18.21 percent of the land area, from 8.6 percent in the early 1950s, the official said at a forum on desert control and ecological civilization in Bijie of Guizhou Province in southwest China.

Earlier, the SFA revealed in its 2007 Green Coverage Report that 51.54 billion trees had been planted by ordinary Chinese people in the past three decades.

A total of 2.27 billion trees were planted last year by 58 percent of the population, lifting the urban forestry coverage to 35.11 percent, up 2.57 percentage points, figures with the SFA showed.

Nationwide forest restoration efforts have helped fuel the fastest expansion of man-made forests in China, taking up 53.2 percent of the global annual increase, or one third of the world's total, said the SFA.

China's forest acreage reached 175 million hectares last year, raising the country's forest coverage to 18.21 percent, compared with 12 percent in 1981.

The per capita public green area edged up 0.41 to 8.3 square meters last year, which is still much lower than the international average.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2008)

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