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Shanxi puts forest under video monitoring
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North China's Shanxi Province is endeavoring to taking a lead in the country to put all of its forest coverage under video monitoring for fire prevention within this year, according to the provincial forestry bureau on Saturday.

"The video-network building has been aimed to aid an early detection of and response to forest fires," said Geng Huaiying, head of the bureau.

He said the bureau is seeing to put 2.2 million hectares of forest under the round-the-clock video monitoring this year by installing 440 monitors.

The province rich in mineral resources has forests covering 14.12 percent of its land.

The bureau started to install video monitors in 2007, when 45 forest fires were reported, affecting 892 hectares of forests. However, such incidents were reduced to 19 in 2008, after some local monitoring networks were established to send early warnings.

"We have seen many of our forestry administration colleagues from other provinces such as Shandong and Zhejiang come to study Shanxi's experience in forest fire monitoring," said Geng.

He said that the administration has found the monitoring also useful to detect forest pest attacks, illegal forest felling and occupations.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2009)

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