China to plant 2.5 billion trees in 2008


The Times of India, 15th January 2008

BEIJING: China will plant 2.5 billion trees this year, 10 per cent more than last year, as part of reforestation efforts as the country battles increasing environmental problems, state media reported on Tuesday.

The newly planted trees will lead to a 5.3-million-hectare (13.1-million-acre) expansion of China's forest area, the China Daily reported, citing the State Forestry Administration.

"China has become one of the countries which embrace fast growth of forest coverage," said Jia Zhibang, the administration's director. "It has made contributions to counter the negative effects of logging."

The tree-planting drive is part of a campaign to boost green coverage from the current 18.2 per cent of China's land area to 20 percent by 2010, according to the paper.

Despite China's reforestation drive, the rapidly industrialising nation has come under criticism from abroad for its role in depleting the world's forest resources.

A report by Washington-based Forest Trends said last year that China's soaring demand for paper on the back of rapid economic growth was threatening forests around the globe.

Deforestation is linked to the extinction of plants and animals, social conflict, climate change and natural disasters such as flooding and landslides.

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