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China to expand nature reserves
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China will establish more nature reserves in an effort to preserve its rich natural resources and biodiversity, said Zhu Lieke, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) on Tuesday.

By 2020, the SFA will directed 2,300 nature reserves specially for the protection of forest, wild animals and other natural resources, with a combined area of 140 million hectares, or 14.5 percent of China's total land area, Zhu told a Beijing press conference. These nature reserves will protect 95 percent of the country's total plant types and wild animal species under state key protection and all the country's typical ecological systems, Zhu said. The country will have more than 600 wetland nature reserves by 2020, protecting more than 60 percent of its total natural wetlands, he said.

China has planted 53.3 million hectares of forests in the past 58 years,more than any other country in the world, with forestry coverage rate rising from 8.6 percent to 18.2 percent, according to the administration. China also aims to raise forestry coverage to 20 percent by 2010 and 23 percent by 2020, said Zhu. The SFA figures show that the current number of nature reserves directed by the administration stands at about 1,740, accounting for 12.6 percent of the country's total land area.

China has established 470 wetland nature reserves and more than 30 pieces of wetland were designated as "Wetlands of International Importance" in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.

The treaty provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

(Xinhua News Agency December 4, 2007)

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