The State Forestry Administration announced China’s forest coverage reached 20.36% by the end of last year, two years ahead of its goal to lift forest coverage to 20% by 2010. SFA Director Jia Zhibang in Beijing said China’s forested area reached 195 million hectares by the end of last year.
He said the figure was up 2.15%, or 20.54 million hectares from the end of 2003, when it was about 175 million hectares.
According to the SFA, forest refers to woods covering an area more than 0.667 hectares with a crown density – the measure of skylight blocked by plant material – of at least 20%.
Man-made forest increased by 8.43 million hectares from 2004 to 2008 to 62 million hectares, more than in any other country in the world.
President Hu Jintao pledged at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in September 2007 the country’s forest coverage would reach 20% by the end of 2010. That pledge has now been met.
That does not mean that all problems are solved. SFA Director Jia Zhibang said China still faced major problems on forest protection and management, such as increased occupation and requisition of forest land, and illegal deforestation.
Shanghai Daily reported Jia Zhibang as saying the government would step up afforestation and protection of forests to meet Hu’s commitment to combat climate change.