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China Plants 5.23 mln Hectares of Trees in 2006
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China planted 5.23 million hectares of trees in 2006, bringing the country's forest acreage to 175 million hectares, according to a report issued by the State Forestry Administration (SFA) on Sunday.



375,200 hectares of trees were planted in Beijing and Tianjin alone to help improve the environment by protecting the two cities from sandstorms.


The country's forest coverage had increased to 18.21 percent last year from 12 percent in 1981 when the top legislative body, the National People's Congress (NPC), passed a resolution calling for nationwide voluntary tree planting.


In urban areas, the forest coverage reached 32.54 percent last year, while public green areas had increased to 7.89 square meters per capita from 7.39 square meters in 2005.


By 2010, the goal is for forest coverage to reach 20 percent in China as a whole and 30 percent in 70 percent of its cities, said SFA spokesman Cao Qingyao.


The total output value of China's forestry industry exceeded 900 billion yuan (US$118 billion) in 2006, the report also revealed.


The yield of lumber totaled 78.02 million cubic meters last year and that of dried and fresh fruit from the state-owned forestry companies more than 90 million tons, the report showed.


Forest tourism generated 100 billion yuan and forestry products trade topped US$47 billion.



The forestry industry includes material products such as lumber, furniture, and flowers from state-owned forestry companies, and other sectors such as forestry tourism, said Cao Qingyao, spokesman with the SFA.


Development of emerging biofuels and wildlife reproduction showed signs of growth, he said.


China's forestry sector has been developing at a double-digit rate annually over the past six years and hit 726.9 billion yuan in value in 2005.


The SFA set a goal to earn 1.2 trillion yuan (US$150 billion) in 2010.


(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2007)

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