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Rainforest cut for rubber

A RAINFOREST in southwest China is being felled to make room for rubber plantations.

Every year 150,000 hectares of rainforest disappear in Yunnan Province's Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture, yesterday's 21st Business Herald reported.

"It only takes two weeks for 10 workers to fell the trees in a wood of about 1,000 mu (66.7 hectares)," villager Dao Fusheng from Hekong Village was quoted as saying.

"Some of the trees are cut down and sent to lumber mills. The rest are burned to be used as fertilizer for the rubber trees to be planted."

The local government is planning to fell 1,667 hectares of wild forest, he said.

Most of the trees are aged between 100 and 300 years, according to Yunnan environmental activist Zhang Zhengxiang.

Xishuangbanna is the only area except for Hainan Province where rubber trees can be grown in China. The prefecture is just 0.2 percent of China's total area but is home to a quarter of the country's wild animals and a fifth of its wild plants.


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