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Updated: September 6, 2011 19:13 IST

China aims to raise forest cover to 23 per cent by 2020

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China's National Stadium seen from the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. In the last decade, Beijing has poured a massive 140 billion RMB (U.S.$20 billion dollars) into environmental measures, like urban
AP China's National Stadium seen from the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing. In the last decade, Beijing has poured a massive 140 billion RMB (U.S.$20 billion dollars) into environmental measures, like urban "greenbelts," including the 580-hectare Olympic Forest. File photo

China aims to increase its forest cover to 40 million hectares over the next decade as part of its commitment to cut down its intensity of carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent per unit of GDP by 2020.

China will continue to accelerate the pace of forestry development in line with its promise to cut down emissions as compared to the 2005 levels, President Hu Jintao reiterated today.

It is working to increase the country’s total forest inventory by 1.3 billion cubic metres from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Hu told the first APEC Forest Ministers meeting here.

Representatives from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and other international organisations attended the meeting.

“China is ready to make new contributions to green growth and sustainable growth,” Mr. Hu said.

According to a World Bank study, China’s forest cover has grown from nearly 12 per cent to more than 18 per cent in the past 20 years, through a concerted reforestation programme and a country-wide ban on logging.

Its goal is to increase forest cover to 23 per cent by 2020.

According to the Bank, China has undertaken the biggest plantation programme in the world availing its biggest funding of $ 1.2 billion since 1985.

China had committed to voluntary emission reductions to cut down its intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 per cent, compared with 2005 levels.

China had also said it would increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 per cent and have 40 million more hectares of forest by 2020.

In 2007, the APEC leaders set a goal of securing a net growth of 20 million hectares in the region’s forest area by 2020.

They reaffirmed the aim to advance rehabilitation and sustainable management of forests at the 2010 summit in Japan.

“Forestry cooperation in APEC enjoys huge potential and great prospect,” Mr. Hu said, noting that the Asia-Pacific region has the richest and unique forest ecosystem in the world and accounts for more than half of the world’s forest area.

Mr. Hu said China will continue to provide the developing members of APEC with assistance within its capacity through the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation.



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