China turns into greener with notable achievements in afforestation: official

BEIJING, March 11 (Xinhua) — China has seen a remarkable growth of forestry resources with the implementation of afforestation projects, a senior forestry official said ahead of China’s Arbor Day on March 12.

The forest coverage rate of China has increased nearly 10 percentage points since the reform and opening-up, with the world’s largest planted forests and an 80-percent expansion of forest areas, said Zhang Jianlong, director of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

Meanwhile, the green coverage rate in rural areas has reached 20 percent, while urban areas hit 37.9 percent.

As part of the plan to build a Beautiful China, the country vows to increase its forest coverage rate to 26 percent by 2035, according to Zhang.

To fulfil the target, he stressed that China should accelerate the pace of afforestation – about 6.67 million hectares of trees newly planted each year – while implementing strict protection of forestry resources.

More measures will be launched to promote the ecological restoration of grasslands and push forward the creation of pilot national parks, Zhang said.

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