The central government intends to increase the proportion of woodland from 16 per cent to 26 per cent in 50 years, a task that would take nature at least a century, South China Morning Post said. The deputy head of the State Forestry Administration, Lei Jiafu, said that the objective would be accomplished by six two-year-old forestry programmes. These programmes cover: the preservation of existing forest and expansion of a logging ban to cover more provinces; controlling the spread of deserts near Beijing and Tianjin; the conversion of farmland into forests; the creation of green belts on the lower and middle reaches of the Yangtze river; wildlife protection and timber plantations.
Lei said that funding was a major obstacle to the success of these programmes, as were harsh natural conditions. Experts estimate that only 52m hectares – less than a third – of China’s desertified land can be rehabilitated and the forest programmes would have to concentrate on this area.