Gov't plans toughest steps ever to protect forests
China will introduce the strictest-ever measures to protect its natural forests accounting for 64 percent of the country's total area,including banning all commercial logging nationwide, the forestry authorities announced on Wednesday.
For the natural forest in the core protection area, any commercial activities will be prohibited, according to Li Shuming, deputy head of the State Forestry and Grassland Administration.
"Also, we will draft a plan to plant more trees with big diameter and rare species based on proper environmental condition, to guarantee the country's woods supply," Li said.
He also emphasized that forest land will not be used for other purposes.
The State Council recently released a plan to protect and restore the country's forests, with the aim of reaching a total area of 200 million hectares by 2035.
According to the plan, a mechanism for forest protection and restoration will be established for all of the country's natural forests by 2020. By 2050, a fully functioning ecosystem will be complete, which will play a fundamental role in the country's sustainable development goals.
"Under the plan, we will further strengthen the forest recovery work, encouraging tree planting on those abandoned mines and barren hills," said Li.
Moreover, the forestry department at all levels will enhance the supervision on the forest protection. And the supervision work will be included into local government annual achievement evaluation system.
"Also, we welcome participation of the public and encourage people to report activities that destroy the forest to local department. Such activities will be punished in accordance with related law and regulation," Li said.
China has launched the Natural Forest Protection Program since 1998. By last year, the country had 197 million hectares of forests, of which 64 percent were natural forests. Forest coverage soared from 12 percent in the 1980s to 22.96 percent last year.
In the past two decades, the central government has spent more than 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) protecting about 129 million hectares of forest, of which 28.5 million hectares were planted during the period.
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