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October 29, 2009

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New forest laws take tough stand

THE first forest-management laws in Shanghai, effective from Sunday, will take a hard line to protect the green areas.

Units responsible for forest maintenance face fines if they are lax in supervision.

The units should be responsible for insect plague prevention and penalties would range between 2,000 yuan (US$293) and 20,000 yuan, the Shanghai Forestry Bureau said yesterday.

"We found that some units only plant the forests, but don't take care of the trees after that," said Yang Wenyue, an official with the bureau's law department.

Firms or organizations moving trees from forests without permission face heavy fines.

The city government will give subsidies to farmers whose land is occupied for forest planting.

Subsidy plans will be discussed by the finance, forestry and agricultural departments of the government.

The forest coverage rate in the city is about 11 percent, still lower than the national average of 18 percent. The Shanghai coverage rate is expected to reach 15 percent by 2015, according to officials.


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