To improve air quality and attract tourists during the 2008 summer Olympics, Beijing has approved a national forest park, bringing the total number to 15, the municipal forestry authorities said Thursday.
The forest park, called Labagou, boasts rich plant and animal species and is of great importance in protecting the environment of the 2008 Olympics host city, said the municipal forestry department.
The Labagou National Forest Park, which is in Huairou District, a northern outskirt 160 kilometers from central Beijing. It covers an area of 10,000 hectares and is the city's largest forest park.
The park is not only an important zone of silver birch scenery, but also has the largest natural rhododendron forest in north China, according to the department.
With the new "member", Beijing's national forest parks cover more than 62,300 hectares. The first national forest park was set up in 1992.
The forest coverage rate reached 50 percent in Beijing by the end of last year, 8.6 percentage points higher than that of five years ago, the department claimed.
(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)