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China To Plant Forest The Size Of Ireland To Combat Pollution

Planting will start this year.

This Friday, Chine Daily reported that the country intends to grow 6.66 million hectares of new woodland this year in its mission to increase the Country’s forestry by 23% by 2020.

These plans were announced by the head of China’s State Foresty Administration, Zhang Jianlong, on Thursday and is an exciting proposition.

Jianlong stated, “Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign,”
“Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.”
China as a country has invested a huge amount of money into forestry during the last 5 years and ensured the plantation of 33.8 million hectares during that time costing, Jianlong added, up to a whopping 538 billion yuan (£61bn).

Believing this figure to be true, this brings China’s total forest coverage to 208 million hectares (2.08 million square km) – a coverage area which is larger than the entire country of Mexico.

It was also confirmed by Jianlong that 3 new forests are to be planted in the province of Hebei which is a province heavily polluted and surrounds Beijing, China’s capital city. These extra forests will increase the total forest coverage in Hebei to 35% by 2020.

The figures from Global Forest Watch suggest that forests made up 17% of China’s land mass during the year 2000 but over 8 million hectares of forestry was unfortunately lost during 2001-2016 with 2016 being the year where almost 720,000 hectares disappeared.

A report published in 2016 on the deforestation in China, the Michigan Statue University blamed the decades of logging, flooding and land conversion for the extreme loss of trees. The University also brought to light how much progress China’s forest restoration programme has made since the early 21st century.

In the year 2000, China implemented the Natural Forest Conservation Program (NFCP) which bans logging and rewards people for activities and protests which aid in preventing illegal logging.

Jiangua Liu, Co-author of the study claimed. ‘It is encouraging that China’s forest has been recovering in the midst of its daunting environmental challenges such as severe air pollution and water shortages.’

“In today’s telecoupled world, China is increasingly connected with other countries both socioeconomically and environmentally. Every victory must be measured holistically, or we aren’t getting a true picture.”