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February 26, 2015

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Plans afoot to protect all natural forests

Authorities are working on plans to ban commercial logging in the country’s natural forests, which produce about 49.94 million cubic meters of timber every day, according to Zhao Shucong, chief of the State Forestry Administration.

In an article published in the People’s Daily newspaper yesterday, Zhao said a trial campaign was launched in April last year in the forest-rich Heilongjiang Province in northeast China.

The trial campaign will now be extended to the north and northeast China this year, denying the nation about 2.56 million cubic meters of timber.

A final decision on the logging ban will be taken by the end of 2016, when artificial forests are expected to provide much of the timber to the nation, Zhao wrote.

China launched the Natural Forest Protection Project after massive floods in 1998 killed more than 3,000 people and affected 223 million.

So far, nearly 1.27 million square kilometers of natural forests are protected but there are still roughly about 710,000 square kilometers of forest area that has to be covered.

The annual subsidy for every mu (666.67 square meters) of forests under protection is no more than 15 yuan (US$2.40), which is even cheaper than a bamboo. Also, on an average, each forestry worker received about 27,000 yuan in annual salary in 2013, which was half of the nation’s average standard, the article said.

Under the plan, authorities will protect all natural forests, including building protection zones and parks, and raising salaries. The administration has already drafted the natural forests protection rules, which will be implemented after receiving feedback from regional authorities.


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