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  • China has spent over $82 million on planting forests in the past five years.

    China has spent over $82 million on planting forests in the past five years. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 7 January 2018

According to China’s State Forestry Administration, the country intends to increase its forest cover to 23 percent by 2020.

The Chinese Government plans to plant 6.6 million hectares of forest – an area the size of Ireland – in 2018, a China Daily report stated, on Friday.

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"Companies, organizations and talent that specialize in greening work are all welcome to join in the country's massive greening campaign," Zhang Jianlong, chief of State Forestry Administration, said. "Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.”

According to China’s State Forestry Administration, the country intends to increase its forest cover to 23 percent by 2020. Zhang added that the country has spent over $82 million on planting forests in the past five years, increasing the total the forest cover to just about 208 million hectares.

The new forest areas will be built in the northeast Hebei province, Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau, and in the Hunshandake Desert in Inner Mongolia. Last month, the environment ministry said 15 provinces had already drawn up plans, with the remaining 16 aiming to do so this year.

Zhang said that, by 2050, 72 percent of the growth of the forestry industry will come from technological advancement. "Inadequate forestry resources were a significant cause of China's fragile ecology and the lack of ecological products," he said.

Following the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, China is angling to become more environmentally responsible and shed its long-held major polluter image.

The Asian superpower has prioritized sanctioning individuals or companies that are caught polluting or violating environmental rules. The government has also introduced “ecological red line” policies that require local governments to curb what they deem to be “irrational development” and construction near forests, rivers and national parks.

Zhang added that China aims to achieve 26 percent forest cover by 2035.


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